Progressive Learning for Unsupervised Change Detection on Aerial Images

Yuan Zhou, Xiangrui Li, Keran Chen, Sun Yuan Kung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This article focuses on unsupervised methods for optical aerial image change detection. Existing unsupervised change detection techniques are mainly categorized as patch-based methods and transfer-learning-based methods. However, the first type ignores the spatial information in the images, and the second type may introduce new errors due to knowledge extracted from additional datasets. To effectively tackle these problems, we propose an unsupervised progressive learning framework (UPLF). We first use original estimated change maps as the labeled samples and choose the reliable regions from samples to train the network. We then propose a progressive learning method to expand the reliable labeled region. Briefly, we apply a label selection filter to filter out incorrect change information from the regions to help rectify incorrect labeling in the regions. This leads to a more reliable labeled region and thus, in turn, more accurate detection results. Compared with the patch-based and transfer-learning-based unsupervised techniques, our method takes the entire map as the training sample to avoid the problem associated with using small patches; moreover, our iterative and progressive methods further enhance the change detection performance without involving external knowledge. Indeed, based on our experimental results on the real datasets, the proposed method demonstrates highly competitive performance compared with the state-of-the-art.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5601413
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


  • Change detection
  • convolutional neural network (CNN)
  • optical aerial images
  • unsupervised learning


Dive into the research topics of 'Progressive Learning for Unsupervised Change Detection on Aerial Images'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this