Have We Solved Edge Detection? A Review of State-of-the-Art Datasets and DNN Based Techniques

Muhammad Mubashar, Naeemullah Khan, Abdur Rehman Sajid, Muhammad Hashim Javed, Naveed Ul Hassan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Recent Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) based edge detection methods claim to beat human performance on small scale datasets like BSDS500. But is the problem of edge detection really solved? To answer this question, we review the existing dataset limitations as well as the generalization capabilities of the proposed architectures. To this end, we develop a Synthetic Textured Masks Dataset (STMD) that contains 28,000 grayscale images. The performance of several edge detection methods is severely degraded on STMD. To further validate these results we propose a baseline Single Scale Feed Forward Edge Detector (SFED), which is a simple 9-layer feed-forward convolutional neural network with no pooling layers. The performance of SFED is better than most state-of-the-art architectures on BSDS500 and is superior to all the compared architectures on STMD. These results show that most of the architectural advancements of existing architectures are at the cost of generalizability where if we change the dataset set distribution (both training and testset), the performance becomes significantly degraded and therefore the problem of edge detection is still far away from being solved. There are also severe limitations of existing datasets in the field, and STMD provides a framework for designing and testing better edge detection architectures for novel application areas, such as, medical imaging and self-driving cars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70541-70552
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Access
StatePublished - 2022


  • Computer vision
  • edge detection
  • segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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