Coupling NCA dimensionality reduction with machine learning in multispectral rock classification problems
Sinaice, Brian Bino
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Though multitudes of industries depend on the mining industry for resources, this industry has taken hits in terms of declining mineral ore grades and its current use of traditional, time consuming and computationally costly rock and mineral identification methods. Therefore, this paper proposes integrating Hyperspectral Imaging, Neighbourhood Component Analysis (NCA) and Machine Learning (ML) as a combined system that can identify rocks and minerals. Modestly put, hyperspectral imaging gathers electromagnetic signatures of the rocks in hundreds of spectral bands. However, this data suffers from what is termed the ‘dimensionality curse’, which led to our employment of NCA as a dimensionality reduction technique. NCA, in turn, highlights the most discriminant feature bands, number of which being dependent on the intended application(s) of this system. Our envisioned application is rock and mineral classification via unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) drone technology. In this study, we performed a 204-hyperspectral to 5-band multispectral reduction, because current production drones are limited to five multispectral bands sensors. Based on these bands, we applied ML to identify and classify rocks, thereby proving our hypothesis, reducing computational costs, attaining an ML classification accuracy of 71%, and demonstrating the potential mining industry optimisations attainable through this integrated system.