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Deep Transfer Learning with Field-based Measurements for Large Area Classification

by Zachary L Langford, Jitendra Kumar, Forrest M Hoffman
Publication Type
Conference Paper
Journal Name
IEEE International Conference on Data Mining Workshops (ICDMW)
Publication Date
Page Numbers
262 to 269

Classification of Electro-Optical (EO) datasets using Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) has lead to high-performance supervised learning algorithms. However, DNNs require a large
amount of labeled data for training which often have limited availability in ecological studies. Up-to-date classification of vegetation in sensitive Arctic ecosystems continue to be a challenge. In an ecosystem undergoing rapid change, capturing the dynamics of vegetation requires the existing maps of vegetation (such as Alaska Existing Vegetation Type (AKEVT), circa 2000) to be updated based on frequent field based observation of vegetation. A method is needed to transfer the knowledge gained from field-collected observations to a larger area using DNNs. Transfer learning is a machine learning technique where a model trained on one task is re-purposed on another similar task. This paper seeks to train DNNs using field-collected observations and apply transfer learning to apply the knowledge gained to update existing vegetation map at larger scale. We test two DNN methods, (1) a deep multilayer perceptron (MLP) model and (2) siamese MLP network that uses a structure to rank similarity between inputs and can be used for training datasets with few samples and show good performance with limited datasets (e.g. few-shot learning). The results show ∼90% accuracy (using the field observations for evaluation) when transfer learning is applied to a siamese network, compared to ∼45% accurate when a MLP is trained on the AKEVT and evaluated on the field observations. The approach show promise for improving and update the existing vegetation maps over large areas using limited field-based observations.