Quantification of hydrocarbon abundance in soils using deep learning with dropout and hyperspectral data

Asmau M. Ahmed, Olga Duran, Yahya Zweiri, Mike Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Terrestrial hydrocarbon spills have the potential to cause significant soil degradation across large areas. Identification and remedial measures taken at an early stage are therefore important. Reflectance spectroscopy is a rapid remote sensing method that has proven capable of characterizing hydrocarbon-contaminated soils. In this paper, we develop a deep learning approach to estimate the amount of Hydrocarbon (HC) mixed with different soil samples using a three-term backpropagation algorithm with dropout. The dropout was used to avoid overfitting and reduce computational complexity. A Hyspex SWIR 384 m camera measured the reflectance of the samples obtained by mixing and homogenizing four different soil types with four different HC substances, respectively. The datasets were fed into the proposed deep learning neural network to quantify the amount of HCs in each dataset. Individual validation of all the dataset shows excellent prediction estimation of the HC content with an average mean square error of ~2.2 × 10-4. The results with remote sensed data captured by an airborne system validate the approach. This demonstrates that a deep learning approach coupled with hyperspectral imaging techniques can be used for rapid identification and estimation of HCs in soils, which could be useful in estimating the quantity of HC spills at an early stage.

Original languageBritish English
Article number1938
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2019


  • Deep learning
  • Dropout
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Spectral unmixing
  • Three-term backpropagation


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