Domain-Adversarial Training of Self-Attention Based Networks for Land Cover Classification using Multi-temporal Sentinel-2 Satellite Imagery

Martini Mauro, Vittorio Mazzia, Aleem Khaliq, Marcello Chiaberge

The increasing availability of large-scale remote sensing labeled data has prompted researchers to develop increasingly precise and accurate data-driven models for land cover and crop classification (LC&CC). Moreover, with the introduction of self-attention and introspection mechanisms, deep learning approaches have shown promising results in processing long temporal sequences in the multi-spectral domain with a contained computational request. Nevertheless, most practical applications cannot rely on labeled data, and in the field, surveys are a time consuming solution that poses strict limitations to the number of collected samples. Moreover, atmospheric conditions and specific geographical region characteristics constitute a relevant domain gap that does not allow direct applicability of a trained model on the available dataset to the area of interest. In this paper, we investigate adversarial training of deep neural networks to bridge the domain discrepancy between distinct geographical zones. In particular, we perform a thorough analysis of domain adaptation applied to challenging multi-spectral, multi-temporal data, accurately highlighting the advantages of adapting state-of-the-art self-attention based models for LC&CC to different target zones where labeled data are not available. Extensive experimentation demonstrated significant performance and generalization gain in applying domain-adversarial training to source and target regions with marked dissimilarities between the distribution of extracted features.

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