Ship-iceberg classification in SAR and multispectral satellite images with neural networks

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Classification of ships and icebergs in the Arctic in satellite images is an important problem. We study how to train deep neural networks for improving the discrimination of ships and icebergs in multispectral satellite images. We also analyze synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) images for comparison. The annotated datasets of ships and icebergs are collected from multispectral Sentinel-2 data and taken from the C-CORE dataset of Sentinel-1 SAR images. Convolutional Neural Networks with a range of hyperparameters are tested and optimized. Classification accuracies are considerably better for deep neural networks than for support vector machines. Deeper neural nets improve the accuracy per epoch but at the cost of longer processing time. Extending the datasets with semi-supervised data from Greenland improves the accuracy considerably whereas data augmentation by rotating and flipping the images has little effect. The resulting classification accuracies for ships and icebergs are 86% for the SAR data and 96% for the MSI data due to the better resolution and more multispectral bands. The size and quality of the datasets are essential for training the deep neural networks, and methods to improve them are discussed. The reduced false alarm rates and exploitation of multisensory data are important for Arctic search and rescue services.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2353
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number15
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Sentinel
  • Multispectral
  • SAR
  • Ship
  • Iceberg
  • Convolutional neural networks

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