The current increase of spatial as well as spectral resolutions of modern remote sensing sensors represents a real opportunity for many practical applications but also generates important challenges in terms of image processing. In particular, the spatial correlation between pixels and/or the spectral correlation between spectral bands of a given pixel cannot be ignored. The traditional pixel-based representation of images does not facilitate the handling of these correlations.

In this paper, we discuss the interest of a particular hierarchical region-based representation of images based on binary partition tree (BPT). This representation approach is very flexible as it can be applied to any type of image. Here both optical and radar images will be discussed. Moreover, once the image representation is computed, it can be used for many different applications. Filtering, segmentation, and classification will be detailed in this paper. In all cases, the interest of the BPT representation over the classical pixel-based representation will be highlighted.