DWELLING EXTRACTION IN REFUGEE CAMPS USING CNN – FIRST EXPERIENCES AND LESSONS LEARNT
Keywords: (semi)-automated object-based image analysis (OBIA), convolutional neural network (CNN), camp dwellings extraction
Abstract. There is a growing use of Earth observation (EO) data for support planning in humanitarian crisis response. Information about number and dynamics of displaced population in camps is essential to humanitarian organizations for decision-making and action planning. Dwelling extraction and categorisation is a challenging task, due to the problems in separating different dwellings under different conditions, with wide range of sizes, colour and complex spatial patterns. Nowadays, so-called deep learning techniques such as deep convolutional neural network (CNN) are used for understanding image content and object recognition. Although recent developments in the field of computer vision have introduced CNN networks as a practical tool also in the field of remote sensing, the training step of these techniques is rather time-consuming and samples for the training process are rarely transferable to other application fields. These techniques also have not been fully explored for mapping camps. Our study analyses the potential of a CNN network for dwelling extraction to be embedded as initial step in a comprehensive object-based image analysis (OBIA) workflow. The results were compared to a semi-automated, i.e. combined knowledge-/sample-based, OBIA classification. The Minawao refugee camp in Cameroon served as a case study due to its well-organised, clearly distinguishable dwelling structure. We use manually delineated objects as initial input for the training samples, while the CNN network is structured with two convolution layers and one max pooling.