Optimizing Multiple Kernel Learning for the classification of UAV data

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are capable of providing high-quality orthoimagery and 3D information in the form of point clouds at a relatively low cost. Their increasing popularity stresses the necessity of understanding which algorithms are especially suited for processing the data obtained from UAVs. The features that are extracted from the point cloud and imagery have different statistical characteristics and can be considered as heterogeneous, which motivates the use of Multiple Kernel Learning (MKL) for classification problems. In this paper, we illustrate the utility of applying MKL for the classification of heterogeneous features obtained from UAV data through a case study of an informal settlement in Kigali, Rwanda. Results indicate that MKL can achieve a classification accuracy of 90.6%, a 5.2% increase over a standard single-kernel Support Vector Machine (SVM). A comparison of seven MKL methods indicates that linearly-weighted kernel combinations based on simple heuristics are competitive with respect to computationally-complex, non-linear kernel combination methods. We further underline the importance of utilizing appropriate feature grouping strategies for MKL, which has not been directly addressed in the literature, and we propose a novel, automated feature grouping method that achieves a high classification accuracy for various MKL methods
Original languageEnglish
Article number1025
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalRemote sensing
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • METIS-319870


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