Mapping Impervious Surfaces in Town–Rural Transition Belts Using China's GF-2 Imagery and Object-Based Deep CNNs
Impervious surfaces play an important role in urban planning and sustainable environmental management. High-spatial-resolution (HSR) images containing pure pixels have significant potential for the detailed delineation of land surfaces. However, due to high intraclass variability and low interclass distance, the mapping and monitoring of impervious surfaces in complex town–rural areas using HSR images remains a challenge. The fully convolutional network (FCN) model, a variant of convolution
... of convolution neural networks (CNNs), recently achieved state-of-the-art performance in HSR image classification applications. However, due to the inherent nature of FCN processing, it is challenging for an FCN to precisely capture the detailed information of classification targets. To solve this problem, we propose an object-based deep CNN framework that integrates object-based image analysis (OBIA) with deep CNNs to accurately extract and estimate impervious surfaces. Specifically, we also adopted two widely used transfer learning technologies to expedite the training of deep CNNs. Finally, we compare our approach with conventional OBIA classification and state-of-the-art FCN-based methods, such as FCN-8s and the U-Net methods. Both of these FCN-based methods are well designed for pixel-wise classification applications and have achieved great success. Our results show that the proposed approach effectively identified impervious surfaces, with 93.9% overall accuracy. Compared with the existing methods, i.e., OBIA, FCN-8s and U-Net methods, it shows that our method achieves obviously improvement in accuracy. Our findings also suggest that the classification performance of our proposed method is related to training strategy, indicating that significantly higher accuracy can be achieved through transfer learning by fine-tuning rather than feature extraction. Our approach for the automatic extraction and mapping of impervious surfaces also lays a solid foundation for intelligent monitoring and the management of land use and land cover.