DOI: 10.3390/rs15235575 ISSN: 2072-4292

ERF-RTMDet: An Improved Small Object Detection Method in Remote Sensing Images

Shuo Liu, Huanxin Zou, Yazhe Huang, Xu Cao, Shitian He, Meilin Li, Yuqing Zhang
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

A significant challenge in detecting objects in complex remote sensing (RS) datasets is from small objects. Existing detection methods achieve much lower accuracy on small objects than medium and large ones. These methods suffer from limited feature information, susceptibility to complex background interferences, and insufficient contextual information. To address these issues, a small object detection method with the enhanced receptive field, ERF-RTMDet, is proposed to achieve a more robust detection capability on small objects in RS images. Specifically, three modules are employed to enhance the receptive field of small objects’ features. First, the Dilated Spatial Pyramid Pooling Fast Module is proposed to gather more contextual information on small objects and suppress the interference of background information. Second, the Content-Aware Reassembly of Features Module is employed for more efficient feature fusion instead of the nearest-neighbor upsampling operator. Finally, the Hybrid Dilated Attention Module is proposed to expand the receptive field of object features after the feature fusion network. Extensive experiments are conducted on the MAR20 and NWPU VHR-10 datasets. The experimental results show that our ERF-RTMDet attains higher detection precision on small objects while maintaining or slightly enhancing the detection precision on mid-scale and large-scale objects.

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