River Ice Segmentation under a Limited Compute and Annotation Budget
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River ice segmentation, used to differentiate ice and water, can give valuable information regarding ice cover and ice distribution. These are important factors when evaluating flooding risks caused by ice jams that may harm local ecosystems and infrastructure. Furthermore, discriminating specifically between anchor ice and frazil ice is important in understanding sediment transport and release events that can affect geomorphology and cause landslide risks. Modern deep learning techniques have proved to deliver promising segmentation results; however, they can require hours of expensive manual image labelling, can show poor generalization ability, and can be inefficient when hardware and computing power are limited. As river ice images are often collected in remote locations by unmanned aerial vehicles with limited computation power, we explore the performance-latency trade-offs for river ice segmentation. We propose a novel convolution block inspired by both depthwise separable convolutions and local binary convolutions giving additional efficiency, parameter savings, and generalization ability to river ice segmentation networks. Our novel convolution block is used in a shallow architecture that has 99.9% fewer trainable parameters, 99% fewer multiply-add operations, and 69.8% less memory usage than a UNet, while achieving virtually the same segmentation performance. We find that this network trains fast and is able to achieve high segmentation performance early in training due to an emphasis on both pixel intensity and texture. When compared to very efficient segmentation networks such as LR-ASPP with a MobileNetV3 backbone, we achieve good performance (mIoU of 64) 91% faster during training on a CPU and and an overall mIoU that is 7.7% higher. We also find that our novel convolution block is able to generalize better to new domains such as snowy environments or datasets with varying illumination. Diving deeper into river ice segmentation with resource constraints, we take on a separate task of training a segmentation model when labelling time is limited. As the ice type, environment, and image quality can vary drastically between rivers of interest, training new segmentation models for new environments can be infeasible due to the laborious task of pixel-wise annotation. We explore a point labelling method leveraging object proposals and a post processing technique that delivers a 14.6% increase in mIoU as compared to a fully supervised UNet with the same labelling budget. Our point labelling method also achieves a mIoU that is only 6.3% lower than a fully supervised model with a annotation budget that is 23x larger.
Cite this version of the work
Daniel Sola (2022). River Ice Segmentation under a Limited Compute and Annotation Budget. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/18227