Deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have been widely used to obtain high-level representation in various computer vision tasks. However, in the field of remote sensing, there are not sufficient images to train a useful deep CNN. Instead, we tend to transfer successful pre-trained deep CNNs to remote sensing tasks. In the transferring process, generalization power of features in pre-trained deep CNNs plays the key role. In this paper, we propose two promising architectures to extract general features from pre-trained deep CNNs for remote scene classification. These two architectures suggest two directions for improvement. First, before the pre-trained deep CNNs, we design a linear PCA network (LPCANet) to synthesize spatial information of remote sensing images in each spectral channel. This design shortens the spatial “distance” of target and source datasets for pre-trained deep CNNs. Second, we introduce quaternion algebra to LPCANet, which further shortens the spectral “distance” between remote sensing images and images used to pre-train deep CNNs. With five well-known pre-trained deep CNNs, experimental results on three independent remote sensing datasets demonstrate that our proposed framework obtains state-of-the-art results without fine-tuning and feature fusing. This paper also provides baseline for transferring fresh pretrained deep CNNs to other remote sensing tasks.
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