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Fully Convolutional Networks and Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis for the Classification of VHR Imagery

Department of Geosciences, Environment & Society, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Bruxelles 1050, Belgium
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Remote Sens. 2019, 11(5), 597; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11050597
Received: 31 January 2019 / Revised: 28 February 2019 / Accepted: 7 March 2019 / Published: 12 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Object Based Image Analysis for Remote Sensing)
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Abstract

Land cover Classified maps obtained from deep learning methods such as Convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and fully convolutional networks (FCNs) usually have high classification accuracy but with the detailed structures of objects lost or smoothed. In this work, we develop a methodology based on fully convolutional networks (FCN) that is trained in an end-to-end fashion using aerial RGB images only as input. Skip connections are introduced into the FCN architecture to recover high spatial details from the lower convolutional layers. The experiments are conducted on the city of Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We compare the results to a state-of-the art approach based on a semi-automatic Geographic object image-based analysis (GEOBIA) processing chain. State-of-the art classification accuracies are obtained by both methods whereby FCN and the best baseline method have an overall accuracy of 91.3% and 89.5% respectively. The maps have good visual quality and the use of an FCN skip architecture minimizes the rounded edges that is characteristic of FCN maps. Additional experiments are done to refine FCN classified maps using segments obtained from GEOBIA generated at different scale and minimum segment size. High OA of up to 91.5% is achieved accompanied with an improved edge delineation in the FCN maps, and future work will involve explicitly incorporating boundary information from the GEOBIA segmentation into the FCN pipeline in an end-to-end fashion. Finally, we observe that FCN has a lower computational cost than the standard patch-based CNN approach especially at inference. View Full-Text
Keywords: fully convolutional networks; convolutional neural networks; remote sensing; very high resolution; landcover classification; geographical object-based image analysis fully convolutional networks; convolutional neural networks; remote sensing; very high resolution; landcover classification; geographical object-based image analysis
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Mboga, N.; Georganos, S.; Grippa, T.; Lennert, M.; Vanhuysse, S.; Wolff, E. Fully Convolutional Networks and Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis for the Classification of VHR Imagery. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 597.

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