International Journal of Computer Vision

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 5–27 | Cite as

Topographic Maps and Local Contrast Changes in Natural Images

  • Vicent Caselles
  • Bartomeu Coll
  • Jean-Michel Morel


We call “natural” image any photograph of an outdoor or indoor scene taken by a standard camera. We discuss the physical generation process of natural images as a combination of occlusions, transparencies and contrast changes. This description fits to the phenomenological description of Gaetano Kanizsa according to which visual perception tends to remain stable with respect to these basic operations. We define a contrast invariant presentation of the digital image, the topographic map, where the subjacent occlusion-transparency structure is put into evidence by the interplay of level lines. We prove that each topographic map represents a class of images invariant with respect to local contrast changes. Several visualization strategies of the topographic map are proposed and implemented and mathematical arguments are developed to establish stability properties of the topographic map under digitization.

topographic map mathematical morphology level set junctions contrast changes digitization 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vicent Caselles
    • 1
  • Bartomeu Coll
    • 1
  • Jean-Michel Morel
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and InformaticsUniversity of Illes BalearsPalma de MallorcaSpain
  2. 2.CMLA, ENSCachanFrance

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