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BBox-Free SAR Ship Instance Segmentation Method Based on Gaussian Heatmap

Gao, Fei; Zhong, Fengjun; Sun, Jinping; Hussain, Amir; Zhou, Huiyu


Fei Gao

Fengjun Zhong

Jinping Sun

Huiyu Zhou


Recently, deep learning methods have been widely adopted for ship detection in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images. However, many of the existing methods miss adjacent ship instances when detecting densely arranged ship targets in inshore scenes. Besides, they suffer from the lack of precision in the instance indication information and the confusion of multiple instances by a single mask head. In this paper, we propose a novel center point prediction algorithm, which detects the center points by finding a long distance variation relationship between two points. The whole prediction process is anchor-free and does not require additional bounding box (BBox) predictions for non-maximum suppression (NMS). Therefore, our algorithm is BBox-free and NMS-free, solving the problem of low recall rates when conducting NMS for densely arranged targets. Furthermore, to tackle the deficiency of position indication information in localization tasks, we introduce a feature fusion module with feature decoupling (FD). This module uses classification branch to provide guidance information for localization branch, while suppressing the influence of the gradient flow mixing, effectively improving the algorithm’s segmentation performance of ship contours. Finally, through principal component analysis (PCA) of the Gaussian distribution covariance matrix, we propose a loss function based on the distance between centroids and the difference of angle, called centroid and angle constraint (CAC). CAC guides the network in learning the criterion that a single dynamic mask head is only valid for a single instance. Experiments conducted on PSeg-SSDD and HRSID demonstrate the effectiveness and robustness of our method.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 9, 2024
Online Publication Date Feb 23, 2024
Publication Date 2024
Deposit Date Mar 4, 2024
Publicly Available Date Mar 4, 2024
Journal IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Print ISSN 0196-2892
Electronic ISSN 1558-0644
Publisher Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 62
Article Number 5206218
Keywords BBox-free, feature decoupling (FD), instance segmentation, ship detection, synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
Public URL


BBox-Free SAR Ship Instance Segmentation Method Based On Gaussian Heatmap (accepted version) (23 Mb)

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