The large-scale quantification of impervious surfaces provides valuable information for urban planning and socioeconomic development. Remote sensing and GIS techniques provide spatial and temporal information of land surfaces and are widely used for modeling impervious surfaces. Traditionally, these surfaces are predicted by computing statistical indices derived from different bands available in remotely sensed data, such as the Landsat and Sentinel series. More recently, researchers have explored classification and regression techniques to model impervious surfaces. However, these modeling efforts are limited due to the lack of labeled data for training and evaluation. This in turn requires significant effort for manual labeling of data and visual interpretation of results. In this paper, we train deep learning neural networks using TensorFlow to predict impervious surfaces from Landsat 8 images. We used OpenStreetMap (OSM), a crowd-sourced map of the world with manually interpreted impervious surfaces such as roads and buildings, to programmatically generate large amounts of training and evaluation data, thus overcoming the need for manual labeling. We conducted extensive experimentation to compare the performance of different deep learning neural network architectures, optimization methods, and the set of features used to train the networks. The four model configurations labeled U-Net_SGD_Bands, U-Net_Adam_Bands, U-Net_Adam_Bands+SI, and VGG-19_Adam_Bands+SI resulted in a root mean squared error (RMSE) of 0.1582, 0.1358, 0.1375, and 0.1582 and an accuracy of 90.87%, 92.28%, 92.46%, and 90.11%, respectively, on the test set.

The U-Net_Adam_Bands+SI Model, similar to the others mentioned above, is a deep learning neural network that combines Landsat 8 bands with statistical indices. This model performs the best among all four on statistical accuracy and produces qualitatively sharper and brighter predictions of impervious surfaces as compared to the other models.


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