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PlaNet - Photo Geolocation with Convolutional Neural Networks

Ilya Kostrikov
James Philbin
European Conference on Computer Vision (ECCV) (2016)


Is it possible to determine the location of a photo from just its pixels? While the general problem seems exceptionally difficult, photos often contain cues such as landmarks, weather patterns, vegetation, road markings, and architectural details, which in combination allow to infer the location. In computer vision, this problem is usually approached using image retrieval methods. In contrast, we pose the problem as one of classification by subdividing the surface of the earth into thousands of multi-scale geographic cells, and train a deep network using millions of geotagged images. We show that the resulting model, called PlaNet, outperforms previous approaches and even attains superhuman accuracy in some cases. Moreover, we extend our model to photo albums by combining it with a long short-term memory (LSTM) architecture. By learning to exploit temporal coherence to geolocate uncertain photos, this model achieves a 50% performance improvement over the single-image model.