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Exploiting deep learning and volunteered geographic information for mapping buildings in Kano, Nigeria.

A new interesting article has been published in Sci Data. 2018 Oct 23;5:180217. doi: 10.1038/sdata.2018.217. and titled:

Exploiting deep learning and volunteered geographic information for mapping buildings in Kano, Nigeria.

Authors of this article are:

Yuan J, Roy Chowdhury PK, McKee J, Yang HL, Weaver J, Bhaduri B.

A summary of the article is shown below:

Buildings in the developing world are inadequately mapped. Lack of such critical geospatial data adds unnecessary challenges to locating and reaching a large segment of the world’s most vulnerable population, impeding sustainability goals ranging from disaster relief to poverty reduction. Use of volunteered geographic information (VGI) has emerged as a widely accepted source to fill such voids. Despite its promise, availability of building maps for developing countries significantly lags behind demand. We present a new approach, coupling deep convolutional neural networks (CNNs) with VGI for automating building map generation from high-resolution satellite images for Kano state, Nigeria. Specifically, we trained a CNN with VGI building outlines of limited quality and quantity and generated building maps for a 50,000 km2 area. Resulting maps are in strong agreement with existing settlement maps and require a fraction of the manual input needed for the latter. The VGI-based maps will provide support across multiple facets of socioeconomic development in Kano state, and demonstrates potential advancements in current mapping capabilities in resource constrained countries.

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