Urban Plants Classification Using Deep-Learning Methodology: A Case Study on a New Dataset
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Plant classification requires the eye of an expert in botanics when the subtle differences in stem or petals differentiate between different species. Hence, an accurate automatic plant classification might be of great assistance to a person who studies agriculture, travels, or explores rare
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Plant classification requires the eye of an expert in botanics when the subtle differences in stem or petals differentiate between different species. Hence, an accurate automatic plant classification might be of great assistance to a person who studies agriculture, travels, or explores rare species. This paper focuses on a specific task of urban plants classification. The possible practical application of this work is a tool which assists people, growing plants at home, to recognize new species and to provide the relevant caring instructions. Because urban species are barely covered by the benchmark datasets, these species cannot be accurately recognized by the state-of-the-art pre-trained classification models. This paper introduces a new dataset, Urban Planter, for plant species classification with 1500 images categorized into 15 categories. The dataset contains 15 urban species, which can be grown at home in any climate (mostly desert) and are barely covered by existing datasets. We performed an extensive analysis of this dataset, aimed at answering the following research questions: (1) Does the Urban Planter dataset provide enough information to train accurate deep learning models? (2) Can pre-trained classification models be successfully applied on Urban Planter, and is the pre-training on ImageNet beneficial in comparison to the pre-training on a much smaller but more relevant dataset? (3) Does two-step transfer learning further improve the classification accuracy? We report the results of experiments designed to answer these questions. In addition, we provide the link to the installation code of the alpha version and the demo video of the web app for urban plants classification based on the best evaluated model. To conclude, our contribution is three-fold: (1) We introduce a new dataset of urban plant images; (2) We report the results of an extensive case study with several state-of-the-art deep networks and different configurations for transfer learning; (3) We provide a web application based on the best evaluated model. In addition, we believe that, by extending our dataset in the future to eatable plants and assisting people to grow food at home, our research contributes to achieve the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.