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Automatic Extraction of Roads from High Resolution Aerial and Satellite Images with Heavy Noise

Authors: Yan Li, Ronald Briggs


Aerial and satellite images are information rich. They are also complex to analyze. For GIS systems, many features require fast and reliable extraction of roads and intersections. In this paper, we study efficient and reliable automatic extraction algorithms to address some difficult issues that are commonly seen in high resolution aerial and satellite images, nonetheless not well addressed in existing solutions, such as blurring, broken or missing road boundaries, lack of road profiles, heavy shadows, and interfering surrounding objects. The new scheme is based on a new method, namely reference circle, to properly identify the pixels that belong to the same road and use this information to recover the whole road network. This feature is invariable to the shape and direction of roads and tolerates heavy noise and disturbances. Road extraction based on reference circles is much more noise tolerant and flexible than the previous edge-detection based algorithms. The scheme is able to extract roads reliably from images with complex contents and heavy obstructions, such as the high resolution aerial/satellite images available from Google maps.

Keywords: Image Processing, Remote Sensing, Feature Extraction, geo-referencing, Automatic road extraction, GIS update

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