ESCNet: An End-to-End Superpixel-Enhanced Change Detection Network for Very-High-Resolution Remote Sensing Images.

Change detection (CD), as one of the central problems in Earth observation, has attracted a lot of research interest over recent decades. Due to the rapid development of satellite sensors in recent years, we have witnessed an enrichment of the CD source data with the availability of very-high-resolution (VHR) multispectral imagery, which provides abundant change clues. However, precisely locating real changed areas still remains a challenge. In this article, we propose an end-to-end superpixel-enhanced CD network (ESCNet) for VHR images, which combines differentiable superpixel segmentation and a deep convolutional neural network (DCNN). Two weight-sharing superpixel sampling networks (SSNs) are tailored for the feature extraction and superpixel segmentation of bitemporal image pairs. A UNet-based Siamese neural network is then employed to mine the different information. The superpixels are then leveraged to reduce the latent noise in the pixel-level feature maps while preserving the edges, where a novel superpixelation module is used to serve this purpose. Furthermore, to compensate for the dependence on the number of superpixels, we propose an innovative adaptive superpixel merging (ASM) module, which has a concise form and is fully differentiable. A pixel-level refinement module making use of the multilevel decoded features is also appended to the end of the framework. Experiments on two public datasets confirmed the superiority of ESCNet compared to the traditional and state-of-the-art (SOTA) deep learning-based CD (DLCD) methods.
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