Incorporating interferometric coherence into LULC classification of airborne PolSAR-images using fully convolutional networks
Inspired by the application of state-of-the-art Fully Convolutional Networks (FCNs) for the semantic segmentation of high-resolution optical imagery, recent works transfer this methodology successfully to pixel-wise land use and land cover (LULC) classification of PolSAR data. So far, mainly single PolSAR images are included in the FCN-based classification processes. To further increase classification accuracy, this paper presents an approach for integrating interferometric coherence derived from co-registered image pairs into a FCN-based classification framework. A network based on an encoder-decoder structure with two separated encoder branches is presented for this task. It extracts features from polarimetric backscattering intensities on the one hand and interferometric coherence on the other hand. Based on a joint representation of the complementary features pixel-wise classification is performed. To overcome the scarcity of labelled SAR data for training and testing, annotations are generated automatically by fusing available LULC products. Experimental evaluation is performed on high-resolution airborne SAR data, captured over the German Wadden Sea. The results demonstrate that the proposed model produces smooth and accurate classification maps. A comparison with a single-branch FCN model indicates that the appropriate integration of interferometric coherence enables the improvement of classification performance.