Supervised classification is the commonly used method for extracting ground information from images. However, for supervised classification, the selection and labelling of training samples is an expensive and time-consuming task. Recently, automatic information indexes have achieved satisfactory results for indicating different land-cover classes, which makes it possible to develop an automatic method for labelling the training samples instead of manual interpretation. In this paper, we propose a method for the automatic selection and labelling of training samples for high-resolution image classification. In this way, the initial candidate training samples can be provided by the information indexes and open-source geographical information system (GIS) data, referring to the representative land-cover classes: buildings, roads, soil, water, shadow, and vegetation. Several operations are then applied to refine the initial samples, including removing overlaps, removing borders, and semantic constraints. The proposed sampling method is evaluated on a series of high-resolution remote sensing images over urban areas, and is compared to classification with manually labeled training samples. It is found that the proposed method is able to provide and label a large number of reliable samples, and can achieve satisfactory results for different classifiers. In addition, our experiments show that active learning can further enhance the classification performance, as active learning is used to choose the most informative samples from the automatically labeled samples.
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