DIAZ Gaston Mauro
Toward making canopy hemispherical photography independent of illumination conditions: a deep-learning-based approach
GASTÓN MAURO DÍAZ; PABLO AUGUSTO NEGRI
AGRICULTURAL AND FOREST METEOROLOGY
ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Lugar: Amsterdam; Año: 2020
Hemispherical photography produces the most accurate results when working with well-exposed photographs acquired under diffuse light conditions (diffuse-light images). Obtaining such data can be prohibitively expensive when surveying hundreds of plots is required. A relatively inexpensive alternative is using photographs acquired under direct sunlight (sunlight images). However, this practice leads to high errors since the standard processing algorithms expect diffuse-light imagery. Here, instead of using classification algorithms, which is the unique dominant practice, we approached the processing of sunlight images using deep learning (DL) regression. We implemented DL systems by using the general-purpose convolutional neural networks known as VGGNet 16, VGGNet 19, Res-Net, and SE-ResNet. We trained them with 608 samples acquired in a South American temperate forest populated by Nothofagus pumilio. For their evaluation, we used 113 independent samples. Each sample (X, Y) consisted of one or several sunlight images (X), and the plant area index (PAI) and effective PAI (PAIe) extracted from a diffuse-light image (Y). The sunlight images include clear sky and broken clouds with sun elevation from 15º to 47º. We obtained the best results with the SE-ResNet architecture. The system requires a low-resolution input reprojected to cylindrical, and it can make predictions with 10% root mean square error, even from pictures acquired with automatic exposure, which challenge previous findings. Furthermore, similar results (R2= 0.9, n = 104) can be obtained by feeding the system with photographs acquired with an inexpensive fisheye converter attached to a smartphone. Altogether, results indicate that our approach is a cost-efficient option for surveying hundreds of plots under direct sunlight. Therefore, combining our method with the traditional procedures provides processing solutions for virtually all kinds of illumination conditions.