Tilton, JC, Lawrence, WT, Plaza, AJ (2006). Utilizing hierarchical segmentation to generate water and snow masks to facilitate monitoring change with remotely sensed image data. GISCIENCE & REMOTE SENSING, 43(1), 39-66.

The hierarchical segmentation (HSEG) algorithm is a hybrid of hierarchical step-wise optimization and constrained spectral clustering that produces a hierarchical set of image segmentations. This segmentation hierarchy organizes image data in a manner that makes the image's information content more accessible for analysis by enabling region-based analysis. This paper discusses data analysis with HSEG and describes several measures of region characteristics that may be useful analyzing segmentation hierarchies for various applications. Segmentation hierarchy analysis for generating land/water and snow/ice masks from MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) data was demonstrated and compared with the corresponding MODIS standard products. The masks based on HSEG segmentation hierarchies compare very favorably to the MODIS standard products. Further, the HSEG based land/water mask was specifically tailored to the MODIS data and the HSEG snow/ice mask did not require the setting of a critical threshold as required in the production of the corresponding MODIS standard product.