Scaling advanced object detection to arbitrarily large satellite images

Preface: Though CosmiQ Works (and its associated blog: The DownLinQ) has unfortunately been shut down, there remains much to be done in the geospatial analytics domain. Accordingly, this blog details work performed independently of IQT and in my spare time.

In a number of previous blogs [e.g. 1, 2, 3] and academic papers [e.g. 4, 5, 6] we’ve demonstrated the striking efficacy of adapting YOLO to detect objects in satellite imagery. Recall that YOLO is a leading deep learning object detection framework, designed to detect objects in imagery. YOLO maxes out at image sizes of a few thousand pixels in…


After a run of six years, CosmiQ Works (and The DownLinQ here on Medium) is shutting down. CosmiQ Works’ parent organization (IQT) is folding CosmiQ Works into the IQT Labs organization. Furthermore, CosmiQ Works will no longer act as managing partner and challenge manager for SpaceNet, or be involved in SpaceNet in the future. With CosmiQ Works’ exit, leadership of SpaceNet will be transitioned to co-founder Maxar.

This blog serves as a chance to look back at some of the accomplishments of the CosmiQ Works team over the years (the most recent of which is the acceptance of our SpaceNet…


Preface: SpaceNet LLC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating open source, artificial intelligence applied research for geospatial applications, specifically foundational mapping (i.e., building footprint & road network detection). SpaceNet is run in collaboration by co-founder and managing partner CosmiQ Works, co-founder and co-chair Maxar Technologies, and our partners including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Capella Space, Topcoder, IEEE GRSS, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Planet.

Building tracking and change detection from moderate satellite imagery is surprisingly tractable, as we’ve demonstrated in the last few DownLinQ blogs. The SpaceNet 7 Multi-Temporal Urban Development Challenge yielded some impressive results, with some interesting…


Preface: SpaceNet LLC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating open source, artificial intelligence applied research for geospatial applications, specifically foundational mapping (i.e., building footprint & road network detection). SpaceNet is run in collaboration by co-founder and managing partner CosmiQ Works, co-founder and co-chair Maxar Technologies, and our partners including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Capella Space, Topcoder, IEEE GRSS, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Planet.

In this post we dive into some of the building-level metrics for the SpaceNet 7 Multi-temporal Urban Development Challenge. We compare results to past SpaceNet challenges and note that despite the challenges of identifying small…


Preface: SpaceNet LLC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating open source, artificial intelligence applied research for geospatial applications, specifically foundational mapping (i.e., building footprint & road network detection). SpaceNet is run in collaboration by co-founder and managing partner CosmiQ Works, co-founder and co-chair Maxar Technologies, and our partners including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Capella Space, Topcoder, IEEE GRSS, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Planet.

The SpaceNet 7 Multi-temporal Urban Development Challenge yielded remarkable submissions from the winning competitors, as noted in our results announcement blog. In this post we will provide a deep dive into the winning algorithm, detailing…


Preface: SpaceNet LLC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating open source, artificial intelligence applied research for geospatial applications, specifically foundational mapping (i.e., building footprint & road network detection). SpaceNet is run in collaboration by co-founder and managing partner CosmiQ Works, co-founder and co-chair Maxar Technologies, and our partners including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Capella Space, Topcoder, IEEE GRSS, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Planet.

The 7th iteration of the SpaceNet Challenge Series is officially in the books, and our top 5 winners have been determined. The Multi-temporal Urban development Challenge staked out an ambitious goal: identify and track building…


Preface: SpaceNet LLC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating open source, artificial intelligence applied research for geospatial applications, specifically foundational mapping (i.e., building footprint & road network detection). SpaceNet is run in collaboration by co-founder and managing partner CosmiQ Works, co-founder and co-chair Maxar Technologies, and our partners including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Capella Space, Topcoder, IEEE GRSS, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Planet.

The SpaceNet 7 Challenge has an ambitious goal: identify and track building locations and change (i.e., construction) at the individual building identifier level, all from a deep temporal stack of medium resolution satellite imagery. As…


Preface: The work summarized here stems from research conducted by Ryan Lewis, Jake Shermeyer, Daniel Hogan, Nick Weir, Dave Lindenbaum, Lee Cohn, and the author.

The utility of any dataset is dependent on a multitude of variables. Over the last few years CosmiQ Works has systematically worked to quantify the utility of satellite imagery datasets, a concept referred to as the Satellite Utility Manifold. The surface of the utility manifold has important tactical and strategic ramifications. For example one could compare the tradeoffs of sensor resolution, collection frequency, and cost (see Figure 1). …


Preface: SpaceNet LLC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating open source, artificial intelligence applied research for geospatial applications, specifically foundational mapping (i.e., building footprint & road network detection). SpaceNet is run in collaboration by co-founder and managing partner CosmiQ Works, co-founder and co-chair Maxar Technologies, and our partners including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Capella Space, Topcoder, IEEE GRSS, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Planet.

The SpaceNet partners are proud to announce the release of the SpaceNet 7 dataset. The SpaceNet 7 Multi-Temporal Urban Development Challenge dataset features a deep temporal stack of imagery and labels in over 100 locations…


Preface: SpaceNet LLC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating open source, artificial intelligence applied research for geospatial applications, specifically foundational mapping (i.e., building footprint & road network detection). SpaceNet is run in collaboration by co-founder and managing partner CosmiQ Works, co-founder and co-chair Maxar Technologies, and our partners Amazon Web Services (AWS), Capella Space, Topcoder, IEEE GRSS, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and Planet.

Satellite imagery analytics have numerous human development and disaster response applications, particularly when time series methods are involved. The SpaceNet 7 Multi-Temporal Urban Development Challenge aims to improve these methods, while simultaneously advancing the state of…

Adam Van Etten

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