BigEarthNet-MM: A Large Scale Multi-Modal Multi-Label Benchmark Archive for Remote Sensing Image Classification and Retrieval
This paper presents the multi-modal BigEarthNet (BigEarthNet-MM) benchmark archive made up of 590,326 pairs of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 image patches to support the deep learning (DL) studies in multi-modal multi-label remote sensing (RS) image retrieval and classification. Each pair of patches in BigEarthNet-MM is annotated with multi-labels provided by the CORINE Land Cover (CLC) map of 2018 based on its thematically most detailed Level-3 class nomenclature. Our initial research demonstrates
... that some CLC classes are challenging to be accurately described by only considering (single-date) BigEarthNet-MM images. In this paper, we also introduce an alternative class-nomenclature as an evolution of the original CLC labels to address this problem. This is achieved by interpreting and arranging the CLC Level-3 nomenclature based on the properties of BigEarthNet-MM images in a new nomenclature of 19 classes. In our experiments, we show the potential of BigEarthNet-MM for multi-modal multi-label image retrieval and classification problems by considering several state-of-the-art DL models. We also demonstrate that the DL models trained from scratch on BigEarthNet-MM outperform those pre-trained on ImageNet, especially in relation to some complex classes, including agriculture and other vegetated and natural environments. We make all the data and the DL models publicly available at https://bigearth.net, offering an important resource to support studies on multi-modal image scene classification and retrieval problems in RS.