The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLVIII-1-2024
10 May 2024
 | 10 May 2024

Extracting building outlines based on convolutional neural networks using the property of linear connectivity

Anton Emelyanov, Vladimir A. Knyaz, and Vladimir V. Kniaz

Keywords: Deep learning, Instance segmentation, Boundary regularization, Vectorization, Remote sensing images

Abstract. For years, researchers have been developing an automated method that can replace humans by drawing the outlines of individual buildings in a vector format, which plays an important role in GIS creation, environmental monitoring, urban planning, population density estimation, and energy supply. There is no doubt that this is an extremely difficult task, not only because of the labor required to develop such a highly intelligent algorithm, but also because of the challenges posed by imperfect imaging conditions, different building structures, and the complexity of the background. One of the current challenges in extracting building outlines is to accurately recreate the polygonal boundaries of the building while extracting vectorized building masks as output for direct use in various applications. This work provides a comprehensive workflow for building extraction and improves the predicted area of buildings through boundary regularization. First, a convolutional neural network is used to train instance segmentation model, then regularization and vectorization processes are performed. The main difference from existing methods is a new regularization method based on the concepts of linear connectivity and convexity of a set of points. This approach can effectively identify and remove points that do not belong to the detected building but were incorrectly segmented by the algorithm. Based on the results of experiments, the algorithm showed a high level of efficiency, comparable to leading methods for extracting building boundaries as PolyWorld.