Unplanned urban settlements exist worldwide. The geospatial information of these areas is critical for urban management and reconstruction planning but usually unavailable. Automatically characterizing individual buildings in the unplanned urban village using remote sensing imagery is very challenging due to complex landscapes and high-density settlements. The newly emerging deep learning method provides the potential to characterize individual buildings in a complex urban village. This study proposed an urban village mapping paradigm based on U-net deep learning architecture. The study area is located in Guangzhou City, China. The Worldview satellite image with eight pan-sharpened bands at a 0.5-m spatial resolution and building boundary vector file were used as research purposes. There are ten sites of the urban villages included in this scene of the Worldview image. The deep neural network model was trained and tested based on the selected six and four sites of the urban village, respectively. Models for building segmentation and classification were both trained and tested. The results indicated that the U-net model reached overall accuracy over 86% for building segmentation and over 83% for the classification. The F1
-score ranged from 0.9 to 0.98 for the segmentation, and from 0.63 to 0.88 for the classification. The Interaction over Union reached over 90% for the segmentation and 86% for the classification. The superiority of the deep learning method has been demonstrated through comparison with Random Forest and object-based image analysis. This study fully showed the feasibility, efficiency, and potential of the deep learning in delineating individual buildings in the high-density urban village. More importantly, this study implied that through deep learning methods, mapping unplanned urban settlements could further characterize individual buildings with considerable accuracy.
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