Main content area

A hybrid of deep learning and hand-crafted features based approach for snow cover mapping

Nijhawan, Rahul, Das, Josodhir, Raman, Balasubramanian
International journal of remote sensing 2019 v.40 no.2 pp. 759-773
artificial intelligence, hydrologic cycle, information sources, models, monitoring, remote sensing, snowpack, spectral analysis, synthetic aperture radar, villages, Himalayan region, India
Monitoring the extent of snow cover plays a vital role for a better understanding of current and future climatic, ecological, and water cycle conditions. Previously, several traditional machine learning models have been applied for accomplishing this while exploring a variety of feature extraction techniques on various information sources. However, the laborious process of any amount of hand-crafted feature extraction has not helped to obtain high accuracies. Recently, deep learning models have shown that feature extraction can be made automatic and that they can achieve the required high accuracies but at the cost of requiring a large amount of labelled data. Fortunately, despite the absence of such large amounts of labelled data for this task, we can rely on pre-trained models, which accept red-green-blue (RGB) information (or dimensions-reduced spectral data). However, it is always better to include a variety of information sources to solve any problem, especially with the availability of other important information sources like synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery and elevation. We propose a hybrid model where the deep learning is assisted by these information sources which have until now been left out. Particularly, our model learns from both the deep learning features (derived from spectral data) and the hand-crafted features (derived from SAR and elevation). Such an approach shows interesting performance-improvement from 96.02% (through deep learning alone) to 98.10% when experiments were conducted for Khiroi village of the Himalayan region in India.