Randomized Histogram Matching: A Simple Augmentation for Unsupervised Domain Adaptation in Overhead Imagery

04/28/2021
by   Can Yaras, et al.
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Modern deep neural networks (DNNs) achieve highly accurate results for many recognition tasks on overhead (e.g., satellite) imagery. One challenge however is visual domain shifts (i.e., statistical changes), which can cause the accuracy of DNNs to degrade substantially and unpredictably when tested on new sets of imagery. In this work we model domain shifts caused by variations in imaging hardware, lighting, and other conditions as non-linear pixel-wise transformations; and we show that modern DNNs can become largely invariant to these types of transformations, if provided with appropriate training data augmentation. In general, however, we do not know the transformation between two sets of imagery. To overcome this problem, we propose a simple real-time unsupervised training augmentation technique, termed randomized histogram matching (RHM). We conduct experiments with two large public benchmark datasets for building segmentation and find that RHM consistently yields comparable performance to recent state-of-the-art unsupervised domain adaptation approaches despite being simpler and faster. RHM also offers substantially better performance than other comparably simple approaches that are widely-used in overhead imagery.

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