Semantic-aware Dense Representation Learning for Remote Sensing Image Change Detection

27 May 2022  ·  Hao Chen, Wenyuan Li, Song Chen, Zhenwei Shi ·

Supervised deep learning models depend on massive labeled data. Unfortunately, it is time-consuming and labor-intensive to collect and annotate bitemporal samples containing desired changes. Transfer learning from pre-trained models is effective to alleviate label insufficiency in remote sensing (RS) change detection (CD). We explore the use of semantic information during pre-training. Different from traditional supervised pre-training that learns the mapping from image to label, we incorporate semantic supervision into the self-supervised learning (SSL) framework. Typically, multiple objects of interest (e.g., buildings) are distributed in various locations in an uncurated RS image. Instead of manipulating image-level representations via global pooling, we introduce point-level supervision on per-pixel embeddings to learn spatially-sensitive features, thus benefiting downstream dense CD. To achieve this, we obtain multiple points via class-balanced sampling on the overlapped area between views using the semantic mask. We learn an embedding space where background and foreground points are pushed apart, and spatially aligned points across views are pulled together. Our intuition is the resulting semantically discriminative representations invariant to irrelevant changes (illumination and unconcerned land covers) may help change recognition. We collect large-scale image-mask pairs freely available in the RS community for pre-training. Extensive experiments on three CD datasets verify the effectiveness of our method. Ours significantly outperforms ImageNet pre-training, in-domain supervision, and several SSL methods. Empirical results indicate our pre-training improves the generalization and data efficiency of the CD model. Notably, we achieve competitive results using 20% training data than baseline (random initialization) using 100% data. Our code is available.

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