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You are on page 1of 4

Mohammad Izadi and Parvaneh Saeedi

School of Engineering Science, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada,

ABSTRACT

This paper presents a height estimation method for buildings

with polygonal footprints in monocular satellite/airborne images by combining fuzzy reasoning and genetic algorithm. A

fitness function is employed using a set of fuzzy rules that

asses various height hypothesis candidates for each building.

A genetic algorithm is utilized that optimizes the fitness function to recover the most accurate height quickly with an accuracy that is independent of the acquisition method. Experimental results verify the effectiveness of the proposed method,

with an overall mean height error of 35 cm.

gabled rooftops from multiple view (non-stereo) aerial images. Kim and Nevatia [4] utilized multiple overlapping images of a scene to model and describe complex 3D buildings.

Fujii and Arikawa [5] proposed a method that utilized airborne laser elevation maps with aerial images for the 3D reconstruction of urban structures.

One common problem with the previous approaches is the

complexity issue that arises by incorporating multiple views

and complicated shapes other than rectangular buildings. Also,

relying on only lines, in some of the previous works, limits the

scope of such height estimation approaches to bulidings with

very simple profiles. Estimation of the height for complicated

buildings is still an open research problem.

1. INTRODUCTION

Automatic 3D map reconstruction has been an active research

subject with a wide range of applications such as urban city

planning, military assessment simulations, and control for disaster preparedness. For many years, 3D building reconstruction, as the most prominent component of 3D map reconstruction, is done through semi-automatic approaches in which an

operator identifies buildings boundaries in a stereo set of

aerial images. Using acquisition geometry, image displacement, and perspective projection the dimension of buildings

are then determined. This process is a time consuming and

tiresome process. The abundance of inexpensive frequently

updated satellite imageries has initiated much work toward

automatic methods for 3D building models generation. While

numerous semiautomatic systems have been developed, only

a limited number of automated systems are reported in the

literature. These systems are still far from being capable of

coping with existing complexities of urban structures.

1.1. Previous Work

Lin and Nevatia [1] presented a method for estimating the

height of rectilinear flat buildings in monocular aerial images using lines. Collins et al. [2] described a system for 3D

representation of rectangular buildings from multiple views.

Noronha and Nevatia [3] proposed a method that detected and

reconstructed 3D models for rectilinear buildings with flat or

Authors would like to acknowledge with gratitude the NSERC Canada

for the support through the NSERC Strategic Grant Program.

c

978-1-4244-3610-1/09/$25.00
2009

IEEE.

125

2. SUGGESTED APPROACH

The main objective of this paper is to present a methodology

for height estimation of buildings with flat polygonal rooftops

using single view satellite/airborne imageries. The assumption made here is that the polygonal definition each rooftop is

provided as an input.

2.1. Acquisition Geometry

The acquisition geometry determines the Jacobian of the ground

to image and ground to shadow transformations (oblique/normal

viewings). It also transforms the geometry into a data structure that is independent of sensor and platform (satellite/airborne).

The input to this process for the satellite imageries are rational function and meta data files. For airborne photos a number

of feature points are selected, manual selection, in a file that

is automatically processed to extract the acquisition geometry [6, 7]. The acquisition calibration consists of the following steps: Determining the direction of gravity, Obtaining the

horizon, Calibrating the camera, Estimating the size of objects in meters, Calculating the vertical scale, and Computing

the direction of the sun.

2.2. Shadow Segmentation

Many shadow segmentation approaches rely on employing

threshold values [8, 9]. Such approaches could fail to identify

WIAMIS 2009

Table 1. Linguistic variables and labels for the fuzzy rulebased fitness function

(a)

(d)

(b)

(e)

(c)

Linguistic Variable

Linguistic Label

Input

Spectral Ratio

Shape Fitness

Small, Large

Small, Medium, Large

Output

Score

Moderate, Positive Small,

Positive Large

(f)

1

true shadows or suffer inaccuracies under varying illumination. In the proposed approach, a threshold independent local

segmentation method is employed to segment only the areas

around each building.

Tsai [10] utilized a segmentation method in an automatic

de-shadowing approach for shadow detection compensation

in color aerial images using spectral ratio with an automatic

thresholding technique. The proposed approach in this work

employs the spectral ratio of (H + 1)/(I + 1) (H and I are

normalized hue and intensity values in [0 1]) to construct a

ratio image. The ratio image is then segmented into regions

Ri using the Mean Shift Segmentation algorithm.

2.3. Expected Shadow Prediction

In this section the expected shadows at each candidate height

is estimated. Figure 1-a shows a polygonal rooftop with its

vertices (the hatching region). When viewing from the top,

the buildings rooftop covers parts of the walls footprint (the

gray region) and shadow areas (the black region), Figure 1a. The walls footprint covers some parts of the shadow areas. The walls footprint and building shadows are obtained

by projecting the rooftop vertices using the image acquisition

and the suns geometries for a given height, Figure 1-b. The

buildings walls and rooftop vertices are combined together

as displayed in Figure 1-c. The rooftop shadows are added to

the walls shadow by connecting lines between walls ground

projections and the expected shadow points, Figure 1-d. The

shadow of walls (Figure 1-d) and rooftops area are then combined to generate region shown in Figure 1-e. By subtracting

the merged rooftops and walls (Figure 1-c) from the resulting

shadow region (Figure 1-e), expected visible shadow regions

of the building are predicted as displayed in Figure 1-f.

2.4. Fuzzy Rule Based Fitness Function

In this section, a fuzzy rule based function, that plays the evaluation function role in the Genetic Algorithm (GA) [11] optimization process, is defined. This function evaluates build-

126

f2 (x)

f1 (x)

f3 (x)

Small

Medium

Large

1/3

1/2

2/3

x

ings shadow areas according to the spectral ratio segmentation results and the fitness of projected shape of the region.

Here, the significance of the GA algorithm is in the fact that

the height candidate values are randomly chosen (with the

general direction towards the best fit). This improves the accuracy/speed by not limiting the height precision to a fixed

value and a faster convergence to the best solution instead of

examining a large number of possible height candidates.

For each height candidate, the predicted shadow projected

on the ground is assessed using the fuzzy rules (Table 1).

Two membership functions 1 (x) and 2 (x) are calculated for Spectral Ratio variable. Gaussian models are used to

define 1 (x) and 2 (x) as followings:

exp((x c1 )2 /212 ) x c1

1 (x) =

(1)

1

x < c1

exp((x c2 )2 /222 ) x c2

(2)

2 (x) =

1

x > c2

Here x represents the mean value of a region in the ratio

image. To calculate the parameters c1 , c2 , 1 and 2 , the ratio image is clustered first into two clusters by fuzzy c-means

clustering method [12]. The mean value and standard deviation of pixels in each cluster are calculated. The smaller mean

value is set to c1 and the larger one is set to c2 . Three membership functions f1 (x), f2 (x) and f3 (x) are defined for the

Shape Fitness variable as shown in Figure 2. Also five membership functions g1 (x), g2 (x), g3 (x), g4 (x) and g5 (x) are

assumed for the Score variable as depicted in Figure 3.

With the assumption that the related projected shadow of

a height candidate is RShadow , all regions Ri (extracted in

g (x)

1

g2 (x)

g3 (x)

g4 (x)

g5 (x)

N Large

N Small Moderate P Small P Large

-1

-0.5

0.5

x

Section 2.2) that partially or fully overlap with the predicted

shadow regions are extracted and put in the set P . For each

region Ri in P , two parameters mRi and vRi are estimated.

mRi represents the mean value of pixels in region Ri , calculated using their spectral ratio values. vRi denotes the percentage of shadow coverage for region Ri computed by :

vRi = (RShadow Ri )/the area of Ri

Fig. 4. Final results for scene 5. The dotted line highlights the

roof top definition. The solid line displays the shadow projection for the optimum height found by the proposed algorithm.

(3)

using the following fuzzy rules:

Small SR & Small SF

Small SR & Medium SF

Small SR & Large SF

Large SR & Small SF

Large SR & Medium SF

Large SR & Large SF

Moderate Sc

Negative Small Sc

Negative Large Sc

Moderate Sc

Positive Small Sc

Positive Large Sc

Here SR, SF and Sc represent Spectral Ratio, Shape Fitness and Score variables. The membership values in the premise

part are combined through the minimum function to acquire

the strength of each rule [13]. The strength of the above rules

is computed using:

h1 =min(1 (mRi ), f1 (vRi )),

h3 =min(1 (mRi ), f3 (vRi )),

h5 =min(2 (mRi ), f2 (vRi )),

h4 =min(2 (mRi ), f1 (vRi ))

h6 =min(2 (mRi ), f3 (vRi ))

(4)

The implication of each rule is then computed for all zs from

the gi s domain:

D1 (z) = min(h1 , g3 (z)),

D3 (z) = min(h3 , g1 (z)),

D5 (z) = min(h5 , g4 (z)),

D4 (z) = min(h4 , g3 (z))

D6 (z) = min(h6 , g5 (z))

(5)

At this point, the total contribution of all rules is calculated

for all zs in the union of all gi s:

C(z) = max(D1 (z), ..., D6 (z))

(6)

SRi = (

zi C(zi ))/

C(zi )

(7)

Finally, the Height Score HS is computed by:

(Area(RShadow Ri )) S(Ri )

HS =

Ri P

Area(RShadow)

(8)

127

3. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS

The performance of the system is assessed using 8 QuickBird

(0.6 [m/pixel]) and one aerial (0.14 [m/pixel]) images. Figure 4 shows the shadows of the estimated height (solid lines)

for the buildings with the manually found ground truth (dashdot lines). As displayed, the detected shadow regions match

against ground truth regions. Figure 5 displays another output image. Although building A has a complex rooftop and its

shadow is connected to other buildings shadows, its shadow

was detected correctly. The results for buildings B and C are

worst case in the whole test set because the adjacent forest

with heavy foliage overcasts the true shadow regions.

The test images were labeled from 1 to 9 with buildings

of each image labeled from A to E. The ground truth for each

building was prepared manually. The evaluation results are

shown in Table 2. Here, all experiments were conducted on

a PC with CPU Intel Core2 2.4GHz with 2GB RAM. Also

all programs were implemented in MATLAB 7. The systems

average time for processing a building in an image of 400

500 pixels is about 53.76 seconds.

Table 2 compares the accuracy of the proposed approach

with that of the manually found ground truth.

system: Automated site modeling from multiple aerial

images, CVIU, vol. 72, no. 2, pp. 143162, Nov. 1998.

Img.

No.

Bldg.

Id.

Est.

Height[m]

Actual

Height[m]

Absolute

Diff.[m]

6.5423

6.6797

0.1374

4.6885

5.1404

0.4519

4.9946

5.2500

0.2554

5.6876

5.7388

0.0512

3.55878

3.4999

0.0589

5.5942

5.3341

0.2601

5.6665

5.3891

0.2774

5.2086

5.1404

0.0682

4.6326

4.5211

0.1115

4.2147

4.2112

0.0035

4.3837

4.3293

0.0544

4.3698

4.3682

0.0016

8.4281

8.4302

0.0021

8.8967

8.9072

0.0105

7.1563

6.9359

0.2204

9.4826

8.5375

0.9451

12.3066

7.9688

4.3378

7.7647

7.7266

0.0381

5.2414

5.3047

0.0633

6.6073

6.7524

0.1451

4.1036

4.1719

0.0683

3.8795

4.1450

0.2655

Mean Error:

0.3558

RMS Error:

0.9610

of buildings from multiple aerial images, IEEE Trans.

PAMI, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 501518, 2001.

[4] Z. Kim and R. Nevatia, Automatic description of complex buildings from multiple images, CVIU, vol. 96,

no. 1, pp. 6095, Oct. 2004.

[5] K. Fujii and T. Arikawa, Urban object reconstruction

using airborne laser elevation image and aerial image,

IEEE Trans. GRSS, vol. 40, no. 10, pp. 22342240,

2002.

[6] R.I. Hartley and R. Kaucic, Sensitivity of calibration to

principal point position, 7th European Conf. Computer

Vision, p. II: 433 ff., 2002.

[7] B. Johansson and R. Cipolla, A system for automatic

pose estimation from a single image in a city scene,

Proc. IASTED, 2002.

[8] T. Kim, T. Javzandulam, and T. Y. Lee, Semiautomatic

reconstruction of building height and footprints from

single satellite images, IEEE Int. GRSS, pp. 4737

4740, 2007.

[9] X. Huang and L. K. Kwoh, 3D building reconstruction and visualization for single high resolution satellite

image, IEEE Int. GRSS, pp. 50095012, 2007.

4. CONCLUSIONS

In this paper a height estimation method was presented for

buildings with polygonal rooftops in monocular images. Building shadows and shape constraints were used to estimate the

buildings heights. A fitness function was introduced that employed fuzzy rules to evaluate height candidates. True height

was retrieved using a genetic algorithm in the search space.

5. REFERENCES

[1] C. Lin and R. Nevatia, Building detection and description from a single intensity image, Comput. Vis. Image

Underst., vol. 72, no. 2, pp. 101121, 1998.

[2] R.T. Collins, C.O. Jaynes, Y.Q. Cheng, X.G. Wang, F.R.

128

[10] V.J.D. Tsai, A Comparative Study on Shadow Compensation of Color Aerial Images in Invariant Color

Models, GeoRS, vol. 44, no. 6, pp. 16611671, 2006.

[11] D. E. Goldberg, Genetic Algorithms in Search, Optimization and Machine Learning, Addison: Wesley Publishing, 1989.

[12] R.L. Cannon, J.V. Dave, and J.C. Bezdek, Efficient

Implementation of the Fuzzy C-Means Clustering Algorithm, IEEE Trans. PAMI, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 248255,

March 1986.

[13] E.H. Mamdani and S. Assilian, An experiment in linguistic synthesis with a fuzzy logic controller, Journal

of Man-Machine Studies, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 113, 1975.

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