Small-Object Detection in Remote Sensing Images with End-to-End Edge-Enhanced GAN and Object Detector Network

20 Mar 2020  ·  Jakaria Rabbi, Nilanjan Ray, Matthias Schubert, Subir Chowdhury, Dennis Chao ·

The detection performance of small objects in remote sensing images is not satisfactory compared to large objects, especially in low-resolution and noisy images. A generative adversarial network (GAN)-based model called enhanced super-resolution GAN (ESRGAN) shows remarkable image enhancement performance, but reconstructed images miss high-frequency edge information. Therefore, object detection performance degrades for small objects on recovered noisy and low-resolution remote sensing images. Inspired by the success of edge enhanced GAN (EEGAN) and ESRGAN, we apply a new edge-enhanced super-resolution GAN (EESRGAN) to improve the image quality of remote sensing images and use different detector networks in an end-to-end manner where detector loss is backpropagated into the EESRGAN to improve the detection performance. We propose an architecture with three components: ESRGAN, Edge Enhancement Network (EEN), and Detection network. We use residual-in-residual dense blocks (RRDB) for both the ESRGAN and EEN, and for the detector network, we use the faster region-based convolutional network (FRCNN) (two-stage detector) and single-shot multi-box detector (SSD) (one stage detector). Extensive experiments on a public (car overhead with context) and a self-assembled (oil and gas storage tank) satellite dataset show superior performance of our method compared to the standalone state-of-the-art object detectors.

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