ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume II-5/W2
16 Oct 2013
 | 16 Oct 2013

Comparative Study of Two Automatic Registration Algorithms

D. Grant, J. Bethel, and M Crawford

Keywords: LiDAR, TLS, Point cloud, Least squares adjustment, Surface matching, Cloud-to-cloud registration, ICP

Abstract. The Iterative Closest Point (ICP) algorithm is prevalent for the automatic fine registration of overlapping pairs of terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) data. This method along with its vast number of variants, obtains the least squares parameters that are necessary to align the TLS data by minimizing some distance metric between the scans. The ICP algorithm uses a "model-data" concept in which the scans obtain differential treatment in the registration process depending on whether they were assigned to be the "model" or "data". For each of the "data" points, corresponding points from the "model" are sought. Another concept of "symmetric correspondence" was proposed in the Point-to-Plane (P2P) algorithm, where both scans are treated equally in the registration process. The P2P method establishes correspondences on both scans and minimizes the point-to-plane distances between the scans by simultaneously considering the stochastic properties of both scans. This paper studies both the ICP and P2P algorithms in terms of their consistency in registration parameters for pairs of TLS data. The question being investigated in this paper is, should scan A be registered to scan B, will the parameters be the same if scan B were registered to scan A? Experiments were conducted with eight pairs of real TLS data which were registered by the two algorithms in the forward (scan A to scan B) and backward (scan B to scan A) modes and the results were compared. The P2P algorithm was found to be more consistent than the ICP algorithm. The differences in registration accuracy between the forward and backward modes were negligible when using the P2P algorithm (mean difference of 0.03 mm). However, the ICP had a mean difference of 4.26 mm. Each scan was also transformed by the forward and backward parameters of the two algorithms and the misclosure computed. The mean misclosure for the P2P algorithm was 0.80 mm while that for the ICP algorithm was 5.39 mm. The conclusion from this study is that the symmetric correspondence of the P2P algorithm provides more consistent registration results between a given pair of scans. The basis for this improvement is that symmetric correspondence better deals with the disparity between scans in terms of point density and point precision.