An Object-Based Shadow Detection Method for Building Delineation in High-Resolution Satellite Images

  • Deepa SharmaEmail author
  • Jyoti Singhai
Original Article


In satellite image analysis, detection of shadow plays a critical role in the precise object detection applications. The size and intensity of shadow vary with solar illumination angle and miscellaneous building attributes, which may lead to their misclassification. Hence, there is a need for an accurate and robust shadow detection method. In this paper, an object-based shadow detection method is proposed to extract building shadows and subsequently used to delineate buildings from high-resolution satellite images. In the presented method, a shadow mask is generated at pixel level using a fused ratio map of a visible and a false colour image in HSI colour space. Then, the building shadow map is delineated by an automatic thresholding process on an object level. The results of a qualitative and quantitative analysis reveal the effectiveness and stability of the proposed approach for shadow detection and building delineation in high-resolution satellite images. These satellite images are taken at a different solar illumination angle and for different building attributes. Experimental results show that the proposed method achieves average improvement in F score by 21%, IOU (Intersection over Union) by 16%, and accuracy by 9% as compared to some of the state-of-the-art shadow detection methods.


Shadow detection Building detection Satellite images Near-infrared Object based Fused ratio mask 


Objektbasiertes Schattenerkennungsverfahren zur Detektion von Bauwerken in hochauflösenden Satellitenbildern. In der Satellitenbildanalyse spielt die Erkennung von Schatten eine entscheidende Rolle für die präzise Objekterkennung. Die Größe und Intensität des Schattens variiert je nach Sonnenstand und Bauwerkseigenschaften, was zu einer Fehlklassifizierung führen kann. Daher ist eine genaue und robuste Schattenerkennungsmethode erforderlich. In diesem Beitrag wird ein objektbasiertes Schattenerkennungsverfahren zur Extraktion von Bauwerksschatten vorgeschlagen und anschließend zur Beschreibung von Bauwerken aus hochauflösenden Satellitenbildern verwendet. Bei dem vorgestellten Verfahren wird eine Bauwerksschattenkarte auf Pixelebene auf der Basis des Verhältnisses eines sichtbaren zu einem Falschfarbenbild im HSIFarbraum erzeugt. Anschließend werden aus der Bauwerksschattenkarte durch einen automatischen Schwellenwertprozess die Objekte extrahiert. Die Ergebnisse einer qualitativen und quantitativen Analyse zeigen die Wirksamkeit und Stabilität des vorgeschlagenen Ansatzes zur Schattendetektion und Bauwerksabgrenzung in hochauflösenden Satellitenbildern. Die Satellitenbilder wurden bei unterschiedlichen Sonnenständen und für unterschiedliche Bauwerksattribute aufgenommen. Die Untersuchungen zeigen, dass die vorgeschlagene Methode eine durchschnittliche Verbesserung des F-Tests um 21%, des IOU (Intersection over Union) um 16% und der Genauigkeit um 9% im Vergleich zu einigen der modernsten Schattenerkennungsmethoden erreicht.



The authors would like to thank’s Dr. Ali Ozgun Ok and Dr. M. Volpi for providing the dataset. Also to the Editor and the reviewers for their valuable feedback and comments on the manuscript that improved it remarkably.


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photogrammetrie, Fernerkundung und Geoinformation (DGPF) e.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Electronics and Communication EngineeringMaulana Azad National Institute of TechnologyBhopalIndia

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