SEMANTIC SEGMENTATION OF AERIAL IMAGES WITH AN ENSEMBLE OF CNNS
Abstract. This paper describes a deep learning approach to semantic segmentation of very high resolution (aerial) images. Deep neural architectures hold the promise of end-to-end learning from raw images, making heuristic feature design obsolete. Over the last decade this idea has seen a revival, and in recent years deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have emerged as the method of choice for a range of image interpretation tasks like visual recognition and object detection. Still, standard CNNs do not lend themselves to per-pixel semantic segmentation, mainly because one of their fundamental principles is to gradually aggregate information over larger and larger image regions, making it hard to disentangle contributions from different pixels. Very recently two extensions of the CNN framework have made it possible to trace the semantic information back to a precise pixel position: deconvolutional network layers undo the spatial downsampling, and Fully Convolution Networks (FCNs) modify the fully connected classification layers of the network in such a way that the location of individual activations remains explicit. We design a FCN which takes as input intensity and range data and, with the help of aggressive deconvolution and recycling of early network layers, converts them into a pixelwise classification at full resolution. We discuss design choices and intricacies of such a network, and demonstrate that an ensemble of several networks achieves excellent results on challenging data such as the ISPRS semantic labeling benchmark, using only the raw data as input.