SpaceNet MVOI: A Multi-View Overhead Imagery Dataset

Nicholas Weir, David Lindenbaum, Alexei Bastidas, Adam Van Etten, Sean McPherson, Jacob Shermeyer, Varun Kumar, Hanlin Tang; Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV), 2019, pp. 992-1001


Detection and segmentation of objects in overheard imagery is a challenging task. The variable density, random orientation, small size, and instance-to-instance heterogeneity of objects in overhead imagery calls for approaches distinct from existing models designed for natural scene datasets. Though new overhead imagery datasets are being developed, they almost universally comprise a single view taken from directly overhead ("at nadir"), failing to address a critical variable: look angle. By contrast, views vary in real-world overhead imagery, particularly in dynamic scenarios such as natural disasters where first looks are often over 40 degrees off-nadir. This represents an important challenge to computer vision methods, as changing view angle adds distortions, alters resolution, and changes lighting. At present, the impact of these perturbations for algorithmic detection and segmentation of objects is untested. To address this problem, we present an open source Multi-View Overhead Imagery dataset, termed SpaceNet MVOI, with 27 unique looks from a broad range of viewing angles (-32.5 degrees to 54.0 degrees). Each of these images cover the same 665 square km geographic extent and are annotated with 126,747 building footprint labels, enabling direct assessment of the impact of viewpoint perturbation on model performance. We benchmark multiple leading segmentation and object detection models on: (1) building detection, (2) generalization to unseen viewing angles and resolutions, and (3) sensitivity of building footprint extraction to changes in resolution. We find that state of the art segmentation and object detection models struggle to identify buildings in off-nadir imagery and generalize poorly to unseen views, presenting an important benchmark to explore the broadly relevant challenge of detecting small, heterogeneous target objects in visually dynamic contexts.

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author = {Weir, Nicholas and Lindenbaum, David and Bastidas, Alexei and Etten, Adam Van and McPherson, Sean and Shermeyer, Jacob and Kumar, Varun and Tang, Hanlin},
title = {SpaceNet MVOI: A Multi-View Overhead Imagery Dataset},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the IEEE/CVF International Conference on Computer Vision (ICCV)},
month = {October},
year = {2019}