Translating Labels to Solve Annotation Mismatches Across Object Detection Datasets

ICLR 2024(2024)

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In object detection, varying annotation protocols across datasets can result in annotation mismatches, leading to inconsistent class labels and bounding regions. Addressing these mismatches typically involves manually identifying common trends and fixing the corresponding bounding boxes and class labels. To alleviate this laborious process, we introduce the label translation problem in object detection. Here, the goal is to translate bounding boxes from one or more source datasets to match the annotation style of a target dataset. We propose a data-centric approach, Label-Guided Pseudo-Labeling (LGPL), that improves downstream detectors in a manner agnostic to the detector learning algorithms and model architectures. Validating across four object detection scenarios, defined over seven different datasets and three different architectures, we show that translating labels for a target task via LGPL consistently improves the downstream detection in every setting, on average by $1.88$ mAP and $2.65$ AP$^{75}$. Most importantly, we find that when training with multiple labeled datasets, carefully addressing annotation mismatches with LGPL alone can improve downstream object detection better than off-the-shelf domain adaptation techniques that align only image features.
object detection,data-centric AI,label translation,dataset improvements
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