Project: Exploiting heightmaps for super-resolution of satellite imagery

Description: Despite the plethora of successful Super-Resolution Reconstruction (SRR) models applied to natural images, their application to remote sensing imagery tends to produce poor results. Remote sensing imagery is often more complicated than natural images and has its peculiarities such as being of lower resolution, it contains noise, and often depicting large textured surfaces. As a result, applying non-specialized SRR models on remote sensing imagery results in artifacts and poor reconstructions.

To address these problems, this project investigates and proposes an architecture inspired by previous research work and introduces a novel approach for enabling an SRR model to output realistic remote sensing images: instead of relying on feature-space similarities as a perceptual loss, the model considers pixel-level information inferred from the normalized Digital Surface Model (nDSM) of the image. This strategy allows the application of better-informed updates during the training of the model which sources from a task (elevation map inference) that is closely related to remote sensing. Nonetheless, the nDSM auxiliary information is not required during production and thus the model infers a super-resolution image without any additional data.

We assess our model on two remotely sensed datasets of different spatial resolutions that also contain the DSM pairs of the images: the DFC2018 dataset and the dataset containing the national Lidar fly-by of Luxembourg. Based on visual inspection, the inferred super-resolution images exhibit particularly superior quality. In particular, the results for the high-resolution DFC2018 dataset are realistic and almost indistinguishable from the ground truth images.

Started: July, 2021

Status: On-going

Publications: Savvas Karatsiolis, Chirag Padubidri and Andreas Kamilaris, Exploiting Digital Surface Models for Inferring Super-Resolution for Remotely Sensed Images, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing journal, October, 2022.