The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLI-B4
13 Jun 2016
 | 13 Jun 2016


H. Sun, Y. Ding, Y. Huang, and G. Wang

Keywords: Object Segmentation, Geo-Hausdorff Distance, Critical Assessment

Abstract. Aerial Image records the large-range earth objects with the ever-improving spatial and radiometric resolution. It becomes a powerful tool for earth observation, land-coverage survey, geographical census, etc., and helps delineating the boundary of different kinds of objects on the earth both manually and automatically. In light of the geo-spatial correspondence between the pixel locations of aerial image and the spatial coordinates of ground objects, there is an increasing need of super-pixel segmentation and high-accuracy positioning of objects in aerial image. Besides the commercial software package of eCognition and ENVI, many algorithms have also been developed in the literature to segment objects of aerial images. But how to evaluate the segmentation results remains a challenge, especially in the context of the geo-spatial correspondence. The Geo-Hausdorff Distance (GHD) is proposed to measure the geo-spatial distance between the results of various object segmentation that can be done with the manual ground truth or with the automatic algorithms.Based on the early-breaking and random-sampling design, the GHD calculates the geographical Hausdorff distance with nearly-linear complexity. Segmentation results of several state-of-the-art algorithms, including those of the commercial packages, are evaluated with a diverse set of aerial images. They have different signal-to-noise ratio around the object boundaries and are hard to trace correctly even for human operators. The GHD value is analyzed to comprehensively measure the suitability of different object segmentation methods for aerial images of different spatial resolution. By critically assessing the strengths and limitations of the existing algorithms, the paper provides valuable insight and guideline for extensive research in automating object detection and classification of aerial image in the nation-wide geographic census. It is also promising for the optimal design of operational specification of remote sensing interpretation under the constraints of limited resource.