Change detection (CD) using Remote sensing images have been a challenging problem over the years. Particularly in the unsupervised domain it is even more difficult. A novel automatic change detection technique in the unsupervised framework is proposed to address the real challenges involved in remote sensing change detection. As the accuracy of change map is highly dependent on quality of difference image (DI), a set of Normalized difference images and a complementary set of Normalized Ratio images are fused in the Nonsubsampled Contourlet Transform (NSCT) domain to generate high quality difference images. The NSCT is chosen as it is efficient in suppressing noise by utilizing its unique characteristics such as multidirectionality and shift-invariance that are suitable for change detection. The low frequency sub bands are fused by averaging to combine the complementary information in the two DIs, and, the higher frequency sub bands are merged by minimum energy rule, for preserving the edges and salient features in the image. By employing a novel Particle Swarm Optimization algorithm with Leader Intelligence (LIPSO), change maps are generated from fused sub bands in two different ways: (i) single spectral band, and (ii) combination of spectral bands. In LIPSO, the concept of leader and followers has been modified with intelligent particles performing Lévy flight randomly for better exploration, to achieve global optima. The proposed method achieved an overall accuracy of 99.64%, 98.49% and 97.66% on the three datasets considered, which is very high. The results have been compared with relevant algorithms. The quantitative metrics demonstrate the superiority of the proposed techniques over the other methods and are found to be statistically significant with McNemar’s test. Visual quality of the results also corroborate the superiority of the proposed method.
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