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ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing


This paper presents a framework for automatic registration of both the optical and 3D structural information extracted from oblique aerial imagery to a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) point cloud without prior knowledge of an initial alignment. The framework employs a coarse to fine strategy in the estimation of the registration parameters. First, a dense 3D point cloud and the associated relative camera parameters are extracted from the optical aerial imagery using a state-of-the-art 3D reconstruction algorithm. Next, a digital surface model (DSM) is generated from both the LiDAR and the optical imagery-derived point clouds. Coarse registration parameters are then computed from salient features extracted from the LiDAR and optical imagery-derived DSMs. The registration parameters are further refined using the iterative closest point (ICP) algorithm to minimize global error between the registered point clouds.

The novelty of the proposed approach is in the computation of salient features from the DSMs, and the selection of matching salient features using geometric invariants coupled with Normalized Cross Correlation (NCC) match validation. The feature extraction and matching process enables the automatic estimation of the coarse registration parameters required for initializing the fine registration process. The registration framework is tested on a simulated scene and aerial datasets acquired in real urban environments. Results demonstrates the robustness of the framework for registering optical and 3D structural information extracted from aerial imagery to a LiDAR point cloud, when co-existing initial registration parameters are unavailable.

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