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SHAFTS (v2022.3): a deep-learning-based Python package for simultaneous extraction of building height and footprint from sentinel imagery

Li, Ruidong; Sun, Ting; Tian, Fuqiang; Ni, Guang-Heng; (2023) SHAFTS (v2022.3): a deep-learning-based Python package for simultaneous extraction of building height and footprint from sentinel imagery. Geoscientific Model Development , 16 (2) pp. 751-778. 10.5194/gmd-16-751-2023. Green open access

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Abstract

Abstract. Building height and footprint are two fundamental urban morphological features required by urban climate modelling. Although some statistical methods have been proposed to estimate average building height and footprint from publicly available satellite imagery, they often involve tedious feature engineering which makes it hard to achieve efficient knowledge discovery in a changing urban environment with ever-increasing earth observations. In this work, we develop a deep-learning-based (DL) Python package – SHAFTS (Simultaneous building Height And FootprinT extraction from Sentinel imagery) to extract such information. Multi-task deep-learning (MTDL) models are proposed to automatically learn feature representation shared by building height and footprint prediction. Besides, we integrate digital elevation model (DEM) information into developed models to inform models of terrain-induced effects on the backscattering displayed by Sentinel-1 imagery. We set conventional machine-learning-based (ML) models and single-task deep-learning (STDL) models as benchmarks and select 46 cities worldwide to evaluate developed models’ patch-level prediction skills and city-level spatial transferability at four resolutions (100, 250, 500 and 1000 m). Patch-level results of 43 cities show that DL models successfully produce discriminative feature representation and improve the coefficient of determination (R2) of building height and footprint prediction more than ML models by 0.27–0.63 and 0.11–0.49, respectively. Moreover, stratified error assessment reveals that DL models effectively mitigate the severe systematic underestimation of ML models in the high-value domain: for the 100 m case, DL models reduce the root mean square error (RMSE) of building height higher than 40 m and building footprint larger than 0.25 by 31 m and 0.1, respectively, which demonstrates the superiority of DL models on refined 3D building information extraction in highly urbanized areas. For the evaluation of spatial transferability, when compared with an existing state-of-the-art product, DL models can achieve similar improvement on the overall performance and high-value prediction. Furthermore, within the DL family, comparison in building height prediction between STDL and MTDL models reveals that MTDL models achieve higher accuracy in all cases and smaller bias uncertainty for the prediction in the high-value domain at the refined scale, which proves the effectiveness of multi-task learning (MTL) on building height estimation.

Type: Article
Title: SHAFTS (v2022.3): a deep-learning-based Python package for simultaneous extraction of building height and footprint from sentinel imagery
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.5194/gmd-16-751-2023
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-16-751-2023
Language: English
Additional information: © Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10164120
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