The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLII-2/W13
05 Jun 2019
 | 05 Jun 2019


F. Politz and M. Sester

Keywords: Airborne Laser Scanning, Dense Image Matching, encoder-decoder Network, transfer learning, point cloud

Abstract. National mapping agencies (NMAs) have to acquire nation-wide Digital Terrain Models on a regular basis as part of their obligations to provide up-to-date data. Point clouds from Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) are an important data source for this task; recently, NMAs also started deriving Dense Image Matching (DIM) point clouds from aerial images. As a result, NMAs have both point cloud data sources available, which they can exploit for their purposes. In this study, we investigate the potential of transfer learning from ALS to DIM data, so the time consuming step of data labelling can be reduced. Due to their specific individual measurement techniques, both point clouds have various distinct properties such as RGB or intensity values, which are often exploited for classification of either ALS or DIM point clouds. However, those features also hinder transfer learning between these two point cloud types, since they do not exist in the other point cloud type. As the mere 3D point is available in both point cloud types, we focus on transfer learning from an ALS to a DIM point cloud using exclusively the point coordinates. We are tackling the issue of different point densities by rasterizing the point cloud into a 2D grid and take important height features as input for classification. We train an encoder-decoder convolutional neural network with labelled ALS data as a baseline and then fine-tune this baseline with an increasing amount of labelled DIM data. We also train the same network exclusively on all available DIM data as reference to compare our results. We show that only 10% of labelled DIM data increase the classification results notably, which is especially relevant for practical applications.