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

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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.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Earthquake Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee, India 2: Department of Computer science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee, India

Publication date: January 17, 2019

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