INVESTIGATION OF POINTNET FOR SEMANTIC SEGMENTATION OF LARGE-SCALE OUTDOOR POINT CLOUDS
Keywords: Airborne Laser Scanning, City Modelling, Deep Learning, LiDAR, Machine Learning, Scene Understanding
Abstract. Semantic segmentation of point clouds is indispensable for 3D scene understanding. Point clouds have credibility for capturing geometry of objects including shape, size, and orientation. Deep learning (DL) has been recognized as the most successful approach for image semantic segmentation. Applied to point clouds, performance of the many DL algorithms degrades, because point clouds are often sparse and have irregular data format. As a result, point clouds are regularly first transformed into voxel grids or image collections. PointNet was the first promising algorithm that feeds point clouds directly into the DL architecture. Although PointNet achieved remarkable performance on indoor point clouds, its performance has not been extensively studied in large-scale outdoor point clouds. So far, we know, no study on large-scale aerial point clouds investigates the sensitivity of the hyper-parameters used in the PointNet. This paper evaluates PointNet’s performance for semantic segmentation through three large-scale Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) point clouds of urban environments. Reported results show that PointNet has potential in large-scale outdoor scene semantic segmentation. A remarkable limitation of PointNet is that it does not consider local structure induced by the metric space made by its local neighbors. Experiments exhibit PointNet is expressively sensitive to the hyper-parameters like batch-size, block partition and the number of points in a block. For an ALS dataset, we get significant difference between overall accuracies of 67.5% and 72.8%, for the block sizes of 5m × 5m and 10m × 10m, respectively. Results also discover that the performance of PointNet depends on the selection of input vectors.