The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLIII-B2-2021
28 Jun 2021
 | 28 Jun 2021


C. Yang, F. Rottensteiner, and C. Heipke

Keywords: classification, CNN, land use database, hierarchy, multi-scale

Abstract. Land use is an important piece of information with many applications. Commonly, land use is stored in geospatial databases in the form of polygons with corresponding land use labels and attributes according to an object catalogue. The object catalogues often have a hierarchical structure, with the level of detail of the semantic information depending on the hierarchy level. In this paper, we extend our prior work for the CNN (Convolutional Neural Network)-based prediction of land use for database objects at multiple semantic levels corresponding to different levels of a hierarchical class catalogue. The main goal is the improvement of the classification accuracy for small database objects, which we observed to be one of the largest problems of the existing method. In order to classify large objects using a CNN of a fixed input size, they are split into tiles that are classified independently before fusing the results to a joint prediction for the object. In this procedure, small objects will only be represented by a single patch, which might even be dominated by the background. To overcome this problem, a multi-scale approach for the classification of small objects is proposed in this paper. Using this approach, such objects are represented by multiple patches at different scales that are presented to the CNN for classification, and the classification results are combined. The new strategy is applied in combination with the earlier tiling-based approach. This method based on an ensemble of the two approaches is tested in two sites located in Germany and improves the classification performance up to +1.8% in overall accuracy and +3.2% in terms of mean F1 score.