Cloud gap-filling with deep learning for improved grassland monitoring

Iason Tsardanidis, Alkiviadis Koukos, Vasileios Sitokonstantinou, Thanassis Drivas, Charalampos Kontoes
Computer Science, Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (cs.CV), Image and Video Processing (eess.IV)
2024-03-14 00:00:00
Uninterrupted optical image time series are crucial for the timely monitoring of agricultural land changes. However, the continuity of such time series is often disrupted by clouds. In response to this challenge, we propose a deep learning method that integrates cloud-free optical (Sentinel-2) observations and weather-independent (Sentinel-1) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data, using a combined Convolutional Neural Network (CNN)-Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) architecture to generate continuous Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) time series. We emphasize the significance of observation continuity by assessing the impact of the generated time series on the detection of grassland mowing events. We focus on Lithuania, a country characterized by extensive cloud coverage, and compare our approach with alternative interpolation techniques (i.e., linear, Akima, quadratic). Our method surpasses these techniques, with an average MAE of 0.024 and R^2 of 0.92. It not only improves the accuracy of event detection tasks by employing a continuous time series, but also effectively filters out sudden shifts and noise originating from cloudy observations that cloud masks often fail to detect.
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