Geo-Aware Networks for Fine-Grained Recognition

Grace Chu, Brian Potetz, Weijun Wang, Andrew Howard, Yang Song, Fernando Brucher, Thomas Leung, Hartwig Adam

Fine-grained recognition distinguishes among categories with subtle visual differences. In order to differentiate between these challenging visual categories, it is helpful to leverage additional information. Geolocation is a rich source of additional information that can be used to improve fine-grained classification accuracy, but has been understudied. Our contributions to this field are twofold. First, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper which systematically examined various ways of incorporating geolocation information into fine-grained image classification through the use of geolocation priors, post-processing or feature modulation. Secondly, to overcome the situation where no fine-grained dataset has complete geolocation information, we release two fine-grained datasets with geolocation by providing complementary information to existing popular datasets - iNaturalist and YFCC100M. By leveraging geolocation information we improve top-1 accuracy in iNaturalist from 70.1% to 79.0% for a strong baseline image-only model. Comparing several models, we found that best performance was achieved by a post-processing model that consumed the output of the image-only baseline alongside geolocation. However, for a resource-constrained model (MobileNetV2), performance was better with a feature modulation model that trains jointly over pixels and geolocation: accuracy increased from 59.6% to 72.2%. Our work makes a strong case for incorporating geolocation information in fine-grained recognition models for both server and on-device.

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