Self-Organizing Map and Relational Perspective Mapping for the Accurate Visualization of High-Dimensional Hyperspectral Data

Wil Gardner, Ruqaya Maliki, Suzanne M. Cutts, Benjamin W. Muir, Davide Ballabio, David A. Winkler, Paul J. Pigram

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18 Citations (Scopus)


We present an optimization of the toroidal self-organizing map (SOM) algorithm for the accurate visualization of hyperspectral data. This represents a significant advancement on our previous work, in which we demonstrated the use of toroidal SOMs for the visualization of time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) imaging data. We have previously shown that the toroidal SOM can be used, unsupervised, to produce a multicolor similarity map of the analysis area, in which pixels with similar mass spectra are assigned a similar color. Here, we use an additional algorithm, relational perspective mapping (RPM), to produce more accurate visualizations of hyperspectral data. The SOM output is used as an input for the RPM algorithm, which is a nonlinear dimensionality reduction technique designed to produce a two-dimensional map of high-dimensional data. Using the topological information provided by the SOM, RPM provides complementary distance information. The result is a color scheme that more accurately reflects the local spectral distances between pixels in the data. We exemplify SOM-RPM using ToF-SIMS imaging data from a mouse tumor tissue section. The similarity maps produced are compared with those produced by two leading hyperspectral visualization techniques in the field of mass spectrometry imaging: T-distributed stochastic neighborhood embedding (t-SNE) and uniform manifold approximation and projection (UMAP). We evaluate the performance of each technique both qualitatively and quantitatively, investigating the correlations between distances in the models and distances in the data. SOM-RPM is demonstrably highly competitive with t-SNE and UMAP, according to our evaluations. Furthermore, the use of a neural network offers distinct advantages in data characterization, which we discuss. We also show how spectra extracted from regions of interest identified by SOM-RPM can be further analyzed using linear discriminant analysis for the validation and characterization of the surface chemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10450-10459
Number of pages10
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2020

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