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Learning to Count Grave Sites for Cemetery Observation Models With Satellite Imagery...

Publication Type
Journal Name
IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 5

Understanding how people occupy open spaces is important for research in support of population modeling, policy, national security, emergency response, and sustainability. For the past decade, there has been an increase in research toward capturing and reporting population dynamics and patterns of life at the building level and in some open public spaces such as cemeteries and parks. This is done through observation models developed from local sociocultural information acquired at various spatiotemporal scales to inform night, day, and episodic population occupancy estimates (people/1000 sq ft). Sociocultural information for cemeteries and parks is scarcely available and often collected manually. The process is not only marred by inconsistencies but is laborious and time consuming. In this study, we leverage convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and satellite imagery to derive grave site counts as proxy variables to support scalable and accurate sociocultural data required in a population observation model. Through a hybrid workflow (weak localization plus regression model), we characterize a large scale automation process to counting of grave sites. We evaluate and demonstrate the efficacy of proposed workflow using out-of-data set large satellite imagery and establish its broader impact on cemetery observation models.