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IM2HEIGHT: Height Estimation from Single Monocular Imagery via Fully Residual Convolutional-Deconvolutional Network

by   Lichao Mou, et al.

In this paper we tackle a very novel problem, namely height estimation from a single monocular remote sensing image, which is inherently ambiguous, and a technically ill-posed problem, with a large source of uncertainty coming from the overall scale. We propose a fully convolutional-deconvolutional network architecture being trained end-to-end, encompassing residual learning, to model the ambiguous mapping between monocular remote sensing images and height maps. Specifically, it is composed of two parts, i.e., convolutional sub-network and deconvolutional sub-network. The former corresponds to feature extractor that transforms the input remote sensing image to high-level multidimensional feature representation, whereas the latter plays the role of a height generator that produces height map from the feature extracted from the convolutional sub-network. Moreover, to preserve fine edge details of estimated height maps, we introduce a skip connection to the network, which is able to shuttle low-level visual information, e.g., object boundaries and edges, directly across the network. To demonstrate the usefulness of single-view height prediction, we show a practical example of instance segmentation of buildings using estimated height map. This paper, for the first time in the remote sensing community, attempts to estimate height from monocular vision. The proposed network is validated using a large-scale high resolution aerial image data set covered an area of Berlin. Both visual and quantitative analysis of the experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach.


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