The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLII-2/W13
04 Jun 2019
 | 04 Jun 2019


S. Natesan, C. Armenakis, and U. Vepakomma

Keywords: Tree Species, Classification, UAV, RGB Images, CNN, Deep Learning Networks, ResNet

Abstract. Tree species classification at individual tree level is a challenging problem in forest management. Deep learning, a cutting-edge technology evolved from Artificial Intelligence, was seen to outperform other techniques when it comes to complex problems such as image classification. In this work, we present a novel method to classify forest tree species through high resolution RGB images acquired with a simple consumer grade camera mounted on a UAV platform using Residual Neural Networks. We used UAV RGB images acquired over three years that varied in numerous acquisition parameters such as season, time, illumination and angle to train the neural network. To begin with, we have experimented with limited data towards the identification of two pine species namely red pine and white pine from the rest of the species. We performed two experiments, first with the images from all three acquisition years and the second with images from only one acquisition year. In the first experiment, we obtained 80% classification accuracy when the trained network was tested on a distinct set of images and in the second experiment, we obtained 51% classification accuracy. As a part of this work, a novel dataset of high-resolution labelled tree species is generated that can be used to conduct further studies involving deep neural networks in forestry.