Counting the uncountable: deep semantic density estimation from space


We propose a new method to count objects of specific categories that are significantly smaller than the ground sampling distance of a satellite image. This task is hard due to the cluttered nature of scenes where different object categories occur. Target objects can be partially occluded, vary in appearance within the same class and look alike to different categories. Since traditional object detection is infeasible due to the small size of objects with respect to the pixel size, we cast object counting as a density estimation problem. To distinguish objects of different classes, our approach combines density estimation with semantic segmentation in an end-to-end learnable convolutional neural network (CNN). Experiments show that deep semantic density estimation can robustly count objects of various classes in cluttered scenes. Experiments also suggest that we need specific CNN architectures in remote sensing instead of blindly applying existing ones from computer vision.

Andres C Rodriguez
Andres C Rodriguez
PhD Student at ETH Zurich

My research focuses in developing new algorithms that use Remote Sensing data for environmental and sustainability purposes.