I was wondering if it's possible to use ArcGIS Pro Deep learning to extract features from elevation data? I have a DEM with multiple levees that are used for flood defence.

Is there a way to train ArcGIS Pro so that it identifies the characteristics of these flood defences?

I'm familiar with using deep learning from images but was wondering about its possibilities with elevation data/features.

What would be the steps to do this or would there be existing models that could be altered to do this?

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  • Thanks for this. I have used a combination of hillshade and wavelet, and are definitely able to visually identify them. At this stage, we're just looking for an automated method to identify them, hence the question of deep learning
    – Siegmund
    Jun 29, 2023 at 0:47
  • Welcome to GIS Stack Exchange. This site is a problem solving site rather a discussion or suggestion platform. Your question is pretty broad and opinion based, since you did not address any specific algorithm for feature extraction. You can search literature for a suitable method. If you face any problem implementing the algorithm in arcgis pro, you can ask here later. Please take the tour for guidelines to asking questions in this site.
    – Padmanabha
    Jun 29, 2023 at 6:44

1 Answer 1


You've asked about using deep learning and my immediate response is why use that? Much work for many years has been done on extracting topographic features from elevation datasets. A simple Google search using the search term "extracting embankments from DEM" threw up many pieces of work, two such papers are listed below:

Also why reinvent the wheel? Embankments are major structures and the countries river agency would be charged in maintaining them as flood defence structures protecting the local population and agricultural land. They will know where their embankments are and have mapping data for them, although it might be in CAD format.

  • The opposite is true though, which is exactly why we want to have an automated method to identify these features. Several studies have mapped 100,000s of km of unmapped levees built by locals to protect their land and thereby altering the natural flow of waters. Hence the request for an automated method as visual inspection would be too time consuming
    – Siegmund
    Jun 30, 2023 at 4:43

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