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Volume: 30 | Article ID: art00008
The Benefits of Color over Black-and-White Images in Task-Oriented Reconnaissance Applications
  DOI :  10.2352/ISSN.2470-1173.2018.12.IQSP-232  Published OnlineJanuary 2018

Color imaging is such a ubiquitous capability in daily life that a general preference for color over black-and-white images is often simply assumed. However, tactical reconnaissance applications that involve visual detection and identification have historically relied on spatial information alone. In addition, realtime transmission over narrow communication channels often restricts the amount of image data, requiring tradeoffs in spectral vs. spatial content. For these reasons, an assessment of the discrimination differences between color and monochrome systems is of significant interest to optimize the visual detection and identification of objects of interest. We demonstrate the amount of visual image "utility" difference provided by color systems through a series of subjective experiments that pair spatially degraded color images with a reference monochrome sample. The quality comparisons show a performance improvement in intelligence value equivalent to that achieved from a spatial improvement of about a factor of two (approximately 1.0 NIIRS). Observers were also asked to perform specific detection tasks with both types of systems and their performance and confidence results were measured. On average, a 25 percent accuracy improvement and a 30 percent corresponding confidence improvement were measured for the color presentation vs. the same image presented in black-and-white (monochrome).

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Cicely DiPaulo, Larry Scarff, "The Benefits of Color over Black-and-White Images in Task-Oriented Reconnaissance Applicationsin Proc. IS&T Int’l. Symp. on Electronic Imaging: Image Quality and System Performance XV,  2018,  pp 232-1 - 232-5,

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