Semi-Supervised Building Footprint Generation with Feature and Output Consistency Training

Qingyu Li, Yilei Shi, Xiao Xiang Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Accurate and reliable building footprint maps are vital to urban planning and monitoring, and most existing approaches fall back on convolutional neural networks (CNNs) for building footprint generation. However, one limitation of these methods is that they require strong supervisory information from massive annotated samples for network learning. State-of-the-art semi-supervised semantic segmentation networks with consistency training can help deal with this issue by leveraging a large amount of unlabeled data, which encourages the consistency of model output on data perturbation. Considering that rich information is also encoded in feature maps, we propose to integrate the consistency of both features and outputs in the end-to-end network training of unlabeled samples, enabling to impose additional constraints. Prior semi-supervised semantic segmentation networks have established cluster assumption, in which the decision boundary should lie in the vicinity of low sample density. In this work, we observe that for building footprint generation, low-density regions are more apparent at the intermediate feature representations within the encoder than the encoder's input or output. Therefore, we propose an instruction to assign the perturbation to the intermediate feature representations within the encoder, which considers the spatial resolution of input remote sensing imagery and the mean size of individual buildings in the study area. The proposed method is evaluated on three datasets with different resolutions: Planet dataset (3 m/pixel), Massachusetts dataset (1 m/pixel), and Inria dataset (0.3 m/pixel). Experimental results show that the proposed approach can well extract more complete building structures and alleviate omission errors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5623217
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
StatePublished - 2022


  • Building footprint
  • consistency training
  • semantic segmentation
  • semi-supervised


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