Collaborating Authors

Automatic classification of trees using a UAV onboard camera and deep learning Machine Learning

Automatic classification of trees using remotely sensed data has been a dream of many scientists and land use managers. Recently, Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) has been expected to be an easy-to-use, cost-effective tool for remote sensing of forests, and deep learning has attracted attention for its ability concerning machine vision. In this study, using a commercially available UAV and a publicly available package for deep learning, we constructed a machine vision system for the automatic classification of trees. In our method, we segmented a UAV photography image of forest into individual tree crowns and carried out object-based deep learning. As a result, the system was able to classify 7 tree types at 89.0% accuracy. This performance is notable because we only used basic RGB images from a standard UAV. In contrast, most of previous studies used expensive hardware such as multispectral imagers to improve the performance. This result means that our method has the potential to classify individual trees in a cost-effective manner. This can be a usable tool for many forest researchers and managements.

PAIRS AutoGeo: an Automated Machine Learning Framework for Massive Geospatial Data Artificial Intelligence

An automated machine learning framework for geospatial data named PAIRS AutoGeo is introduced on IBM PAIRS Geoscope big data and analytics platform. The framework simplifies the development of industrial machine learning solutions leveraging geospatial data to the extent that the user inputs are minimized to merely a text file containing labeled GPS coordinates. PAIRS AutoGeo automatically gathers required data at the location coordinates, assembles the training data, performs quality check, and trains multiple machine learning models for subsequent deployment. The framework is validated using a realistic industrial use case of tree species classification. Open-source tree species data are used as the input to train a random forest classifier and a modified ResNet model for 10-way tree species classification based on aerial imagery, which leads to an accuracy of $59.8\%$ and $81.4\%$, respectively. This use case exemplifies how PAIRS AutoGeo enables users to leverage machine learning without extensive geospatial expertise.

Algorithms for Semantic Segmentation of Multispectral Remote Sensing Imagery using Deep Learning Artificial Intelligence

Deep convolutional neural networks (DCNNs) have been used to achieve state-of-the-art performance on many computer vision tasks (e.g., object recognition, object detection, semantic segmentation) thanks to a large repository of annotated image data. Large labeled datasets for other sensor modalities, e.g., multispectral imagery (MSI), are not available due to the large cost and manpower required. In this paper, we adapt state-of-the-art DCNN frameworks in computer vision for semantic segmentation for MSI imagery. To overcome label scarcity for MSI data, we substitute real MSI for generated synthetic MSI in order to initialize a DCNN framework. We evaluate our network initialization scheme on the new RIT-18 dataset that we present in this paper. This dataset contains very-high resolution MSI collected by an unmanned aircraft system. The models initialized with synthetic imagery were less prone to over-fitting and provide a state-of-the-art baseline for future work.

Multisource and Multitemporal Data Fusion in Remote Sensing Machine Learning

The sharp and recent increase in the availability of data captured by different sensors combined with their considerably heterogeneous natures poses a serious challenge for the effective and efficient processing of remotely sensed data. Such an increase in remote sensing and ancillary datasets, however, opens up the possibility of utilizing multimodal datasets in a joint manner to further improve the performance of the processing approaches with respect to the application at hand. Multisource data fusion has, therefore, received enormous attention from researchers worldwide for a wide variety of applications. Moreover, thanks to the revisit capability of several spaceborne sensors, the integration of the temporal information with the spatial and/or spectral/backscattering information of the remotely sensed data is possible and helps to move from a representation of 2D/3D data to 4D data structures, where the time variable adds new information as well as challenges for the information extraction algorithms. There are a huge number of research works dedicated to multisource and multitemporal data fusion, but the methods for the fusion of different modalities have expanded in different paths according to each research community. This paper brings together the advances of multisource and multitemporal data fusion approaches with respect to different research communities and provides a thorough and discipline-specific starting point for researchers at different levels (i.e., students, researchers, and senior researchers) willing to conduct novel investigations on this challenging topic by supplying sufficient detail and references.

Aboveground biomass mapping in French Guiana by combining remote sensing, forest inventories and environmental data Machine Learning

Mapping forest aboveground biomass (AGB) has become an important task, particularly for the reporting of carbon stocks and changes. AGB can be mapped using synthetic aperture radar data (SAR) or passive optical data. However, these data are insensitive to high AGB levels (\textgreater{}150 Mg/ha, and \textgreater{}300 Mg/ha for P-band), which are commonly found in tropical forests. Studies have mapped the rough variations in AGB by combining optical and environmental data at regional and global scales. Nevertheless, these maps cannot represent local variations in AGB in tropical forests. In this paper, we hypothesize that the problem of misrepresenting local variations in AGB and AGB estimation with good precision occurs because of both methodological limits (signal saturation or dilution bias) and a lack of adequate calibration data in this range of AGB values. We test this hypothesis by developing a calibrated regression model to predict variations in high AGB values (mean \textgreater{}300 Mg/ha) in French Guiana by a methodological approach for spatial extrapolation with data from the optical geoscience laser altimeter system (GLAS), forest inventories, radar, optics, and environmental variables for spatial inter-and extrapolation. Given their higher point count, GLAS data allow a wider coverage of AGB values. We find that the metrics from GLAS footprints are correlated with field AGB estimations (R 2 =0.54, RMSE=48.3 Mg/ha) with no bias for high values. First, predictive models, including remote-sensing, environmental variables and spatial correlation functions, allow us to obtain "wall-to-wall" AGB maps over French Guiana with an RMSE for the in situ AGB estimates of ~51 Mg/ha and R${}^2$=0.48 at a 1-km grid size. We conclude that a calibrated regression model based on GLAS with dependent environmental data can produce good AGB predictions even for high AGB values if the calibration data fit the AGB range. We also demonstrate that small temporal and spatial mismatches between field data and GLAS footprints are not a problem for regional and global calibrated regression models because field data aim to predict large and deep tendencies in AGB variations from environmental gradients and do not aim to represent high but stochastic and temporally limited variations from forest dynamics. Thus, we advocate including a greater variety of data, even if less precise and shifted, to better represent high AGB values in global models and to improve the fitting of these models for high values.