ISODATA unsupervised classification calculates class means evenly distributed in the data space then iteratively clusters the remaining pixels using minimum distance techniques. Each iteration recalculates means and reclassifies pixels with respect to the new means. Iterative class splitting, merging, and deleting is done based on input threshold parameters. All pixels are classified to the nearest class unless a standard deviation or distance threshold is specified, in which case some pixels may be unclassified if they do not meet the selected criteria. This process continues until the number of pixels in each class changes by less than the selected pixel change threshold or the maximum number of iterations is reached.

Reference: Tou, J. T., and R. C. Gonzalez. Pattern Recognition Principles, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Reading, Massachusetts (1974).

  1. From the Toolbox, select Classification > Unsupervised Classification > IsoData Classification. ISODATA Classification dialog appears.
  2. Select an Input Raster and perform optional spatial and spectral subsetting.
  3. Optional: Enter the Number Of Classes to define. The default value is 5.
  4. Optional: Enter a Change Threshold Percent, which will determine when to complete the classification. When the percentage of pixels that change classes during an iteration is less than the threshold value, the classification completes. The default value is 2 percent.
  5. Optional: Enter the maximum number of Iterations. If the change threshold percent is not met before the maximum number of iterations is reached, the classification completes. The default value is 10.
  6. Specify a filename and location for the Output Raster.
  7. Enable the Preview check box to see a preview of the settings before you click OK to process the data. The preview is calculated only on the area in the Image window. See Preview for details on the results. To preview a different area in your image, pan and zoom to the area of interest and reenable the Preview option.
  8. Enable the Display result check box to display the output raster in the Image window when processing is complete. Otherwise, if the check box is disabled, the raster can be loaded from the Data Manager.
  9. To run the process on a local or remote ENVI Server, click the down arrow and select Run Task in the Background or Run Task on remote ENVI Server name. The ENVI Server Job Console will show the progress of the job and will provide a link to display the result when processing is complete. See the ENVI Servers topic for more information.

  10. Click OK. ENVI adds the resulting output to the Data Manager and, if the Display Result check box was enabled, adds the layer to the Layer Manager and displays the output in the Image window.