Abstract This article describes automatic road boundary extraction from a high resolution true orthoimage using the Ribbon Snakes algorithm. We assume the existence of prior information for the rough range of road widths in the scenes and road centerline data. Previous works
on road boundary extraction have been focused on rural areas, using the same approach. Applying the Ribbon Snakes algorithm to an urban area, we encounter multiple-local-minima problem due to cars and lane markings. We overcome this problem by repeating the optimization of the Ribbon Snakes
model at different widths. With the existing road centerlines, fixed width Ribbon Snakes (FXWRS) is applied and its total energy after optimization is stored. After changing the road width, FXWRS is reapplied and the total energy is again stored. By comparing the total energies for each of
the road widths, we determine the optimum width that produces the least total energy. Applying FXWRS with the optimum width and road centerline, refined road boundaries are obtained. We show the feasibility of this approach by comparing results with ground truth.