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In Transactions in GIS : TG

Within the constraints of operational work supporting humanitarian organizations in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we conducted building extraction for Khartoum, Sudan. We extracted approximately 1.2 million dwellings and buildings, using a Mask R-CNN deep learning approach from a Pléiades very high-resolution satellite image with 0.5 m pixel resolution. Starting from an untrained network, we digitized a few hundred samples and iteratively increased the number of samples by validating initial classification results and adding them to the sample collection. We were able to strike a balance between the need for timely information and the accuracy of the result by combining the output from three different models, each aiming at distinctive types of buildings, in a post-processing workflow. We obtained a recall of 0.78, precision of 0.77 and F 1 score of 0.78, and were able to deliver first results in only 10 days after the initial request. The procedure shows the great potential of convolutional neural network frameworks in combination with GIS routines for dwelling extraction even in an operational setting.

Tiede Dirk, Schwendemann Gina, Alobaidi Ahmad, Wendt Lorenz, Lang Stefan