Extremely High Resolution LiDAR and Optical Data: A Data Fusion Challenge

2015 IEEE GRSS Data Fusion Contest | Banner

The Contest: Goals and Organization

The 2015 IEEE GRSS Data Fusion Contest, organized by the Image Analysis and Data Fusion Technical Committee, aims at promoting progress on fusion and analysis methodologies for multisource remote sensing data.

Two new elements, which were not implicated in the previous editions of the Contest, are introduced this year:

  • Extremely high spatial resolution imaging data of a few centimeters;
  • Integration with the IGARSS Technical Program and Proceedings: the best submissions to the Contest will be included in the Technical Program of IGARSS 2015, presented in an oral Invited Session, and published in the IGARSS 2015 Proceedings.

The following challenging data sources are released to the community:

  • LiDAR data at about 10-cm point spacing;
  • Color orthophoto at 5-cm spatial resolution.

The data cover an urban and harbor area in Zeebruges, Belgium, and were acquired and provided for the Contest by the Belgian Royal Military Academy.

Participants to the Contest are requested to submit 4-page original manuscripts using these data.

The topic of each manuscript is totally open in the domain of extremely high resolution and multisource image interpretation. Manuscripts can be submitted to two parallel and mutually independent competitions:

  • The 2D Contest promotes multisource fusion for the generation of 2D processing results at extremely high spatial resolution. Possible manuscript topics include, but are not restricted to the detection of buildings, cars, or marine vessels, multisensor or multiresolution image classification, and spatial feature extraction using active sensing in urban areas.
  • The 3D Contest explores the synergistic use of the LiDAR point cloud and color data for 3D analysis at extremely high spatial resolution. Possible manuscript topics include, but are not restricted to classification of 3D laser point clouds, 3D mapping of building structures, and the detection of 3D small objects.

Submission deadline for both tracks is May 7, 2015.

Each manuscript will be evaluated and ranked by an Award Committee on the basis of its novelty, scientific contribution, methodological approach, experimental validation, and clarity of explanation.

Separate rankings will be performed among the manuscripts submitted to the 2D Contest and to the 3D Contest.

The Data

The imaging data were acquired on March 13, 2011, using an airborne platform flying at the altitude of 300 m over the urban and the harbor areas of Zeebruges, Belgium (51.33° N, 3.20° E). The data were collected simultaneously and were georeferenced to WGS-84.

To avoid leave cover, the LiDAR data were collected during the spring season. The laser scan rate, angle, and frequency were 125 Hz, 20°, and 49 Hz, respectively. The scanning mode was “last, first and intermediate.” The point density for the LiDAR sensor was approximately 65 points/m², which is related to point spacing of approximately 10 cm. Both the 3D point clouds and the resulting digital surface model (DSM) are provided.

The color orthophotos were taken at nadir and have a spatial resolution of approximately 5 cm.

The data set is organized into 7 separate tiles. Each tile includes a 10000 × 10000 pixel-sized portion of the color orthophoto (GeoTIFF, RGB), a max 5000 × 5000 pixel-sized portion of the DSM (GeoTIFF, floating point), and a text file listing the 3D points in XYZI format [containing X (latitude), Y (longitude), Z (elevation), and I (LiDAR intensity) information].

Pixels located outside the acquired scene are displayed in black in the orthophoto and are marked with the default value (-10000) in the DSM.

Results, Awards, and Prizes

  • The authors of the 1st and 2nd ranking manuscripts of each track will:
    • Be awarded IEEE Certificates of Recognition. The award ceremony will take place during the Technical Committees and Chapter Chairs Dinner at IGARSS 2015, Milan, Italy;
    • Present their manuscripts in an oral Invited Session dedicated to the Contest at IGARSS 2015;
    • Publish their manuscripts in the Proceedings of IGARSS 2015;
    • Co-author a journal paper, which will summarize the outcome of the Contest and will be submitted to IEEE JSTARS. To maximize impact and promote the potential of current multisource remote sensing technologies, the open-access option will be used for this journal submission.
  • The authors of the winning manuscript (1st ranking) of each track will also receive an ASUS Transformer Book 2-in-1 tablet/laptop.

The costs for open-access publication, for the 1st and 2nd ranking author’s participations to the Technical Committees and Chapter Chairs Dinner at IGARSS 2015, and for the prizes will be supported by the GRSS.

Award Committee

  • Jon A. Benediktsson, University of Iceland
  • Jenny Q. Du, Mississippi State University
  • Paolo Gamba, University of Pavia, Italy
  • Gabriele Moser, University of Genoa, Italy
  • Fabio Pacifici, DigitalGlobe Inc., CO
  • Michal Shimoni, Royal Military Academy, Belgium
  • Devis Tuia, University of Zurich, Switzerland

The Rules of the Game

  • Data can be requested by registering for the Contest. Participants must read and accept the Contest Terms and Conditions.
  • Deadline for manuscript submission is May 7, 2015, 23:59 UTC – 12 hours (e.g., May 8, 2015, 7:59 in New York City, 13:59 in Paris, or 19:59 in Beijing).
  • Each submitted manuscript will be authored by one or more co-authors (team of participants). One and only one submission originating from each team will be allowed to each of the two tracks of the Contest. Should multiple entries from the same team be received for the same track, then exclusively the first submission received will be considered.
  • Submission to each track will consist in sending the manuscript as an attachment to an e-mail addressed to iadf_chairs@grss-ieee.org.
  • Submission will be compliant with the following formatting instructions:
    • The subject line of the submission e-mail will be IADFTC_2015_Data_Fusion_Contest.
    • The submission e-mail and the manuscript will both specify the name(s), affiliation(s), and e-mail contact(s) of all team members.
    • The submission e-mail will specify if the attached manuscript is submitted to either the 2D Contest or the 3D Contest.
    • The manuscript will be written in English, will describe the addressed problem, the proposed method, and the experimental results, and will provide the necessary references.
    • The manuscript will be formatted as a PDF file following the guidelines and templates for IGARSS 2015 full papers. Click here for details.

Failure to follow any of these rules will automatically make the submission invalid, resulting in the manuscript not being evaluated.

Participants to the Contest are not requested to submit an extended abstract to IGARSS 2015 by the corresponding conference deadline in January 2015. They will submit their 4-page full papers directly to the Contest by May 7, 2015. The received manuscripts will be evaluated by the Award Committee of the Contest, and the 1st and 2nd ranking full papers will be directly included in the IGARSS Technical Program and Proceedings.

Discussion Forum

Click here to post your questions and comments to the LinkedIn group of the IADF TC.


The Contest is being organized in collaboration with the department of Communication, Information, Systems & Sensors (CISS) of Belgian Royal Military Academy (RMA). The IADF TC wishes to express its greatest appreciation to the CISS-RMA, for acquiring and providing the data used in the competition and for indispensable contribution to the organization of the Contest, and to the IEEE GRSS for continuously supporting the annual Data Fusion Contest through funding and resources.

How to Get the Data

The data are provided only for the purpose of participation in the 2015 Data Fusion Contest. To request the data set, please click here to proceed to registration.

By submitting the registration form, participants acknowledge that they register to the Contest, that they have read the following Contest Terms and Conditions, and that they agree to these terms and conditions:

  • The owner of the data and of the copyright on the data is the Royal Military Academy, Belgium.
  • The data are only available for the scientific purposes of the 2015 IEEE GRSS Data Fusion Contest.
  • Any dissemination or distribution of the data by any registered user is strictly forbidden.
  • The data can be used in scientific publications subject to approval by the IEEE GRSS Image Analysis and Data Fusion Technical Committee and by the data owner on a case-by-case basis. To submit a scientific publication for approval, the publication shall be sent as an attachment to an e-mail addressed to iadf_chairs@grss-ieee.org and mshimoni@elec.rma.ac.be.
  • In any scientific publication using the data, the data shall be identified as “grss_dfc_2015” and shall be referenced as follows: “[REF. NO.] 2015 IEEE GRSS Data Fusion Contest. Online: http://www.grss-ieee.org/community/technical-committees/data-fusion”.
  • Any scientific publication using the data shall include a section “Acknowledgement.” This section shall include the following sentence: “The authors would like to thank the Belgian Royal Military Academy for acquiring and providing the data used in this study, and the IEEE GRSS Image Analysis and Data Fusion Technical Committee.”