Recently, convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have achieved great success in scene recognition. Compared with traditional hand-crafted features, CNN can be used to extract more robust and generalized features for scene recognition. However, the existing scene recognition methods based on CNN do not sufficiently take into account the relationship between image regions and categories when choosing local regions, which results in many redundant local regions and degrades recognition accuracy. In this paper, we propose an effective method for exploring discriminative regions of the scene image. Our method utilizes the gradient-weighted class activation mapping (Grad-CAM) technique and weakly supervised information to generate the attention map (AM) of scene images, dubbed WS-AM—weakly supervised attention map. The regions, where the local mean and the local center value are both large in the AM, correspond to the discriminative regions helpful for scene recognition. We sampled discriminative regions on multiple scales and extracted the features of large-scale and small-scale regions with two different pre-trained CNNs, respectively. The features from two different scales were aggregated by the improved vector of locally aggregated descriptor (VLAD) coding and max pooling, respectively. Finally, the pre-trained CNN was used to extract the global feature of the image in the fully- connected (fc) layer, and the local features were combined with the global feature to obtain the image representation. We validated the effectiveness of our method on three benchmark datasets: MIT Indoor 67, Scene 15, and UIUC Sports, and obtained 85.67%, 94.80%, and 95.12% accuracy, respectively. Compared with some state-of-the-art methods, the WS-AM method requires fewer local regions, so it has a better real-time performance.
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