ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume X-2-2024
10 Jun 2024
 | 10 Jun 2024

The Potential of Neural Radiance Fields and 3D Gaussian Splatting for 3D Reconstruction from Aerial Imagery

Dennis Haitz, Max Hermann, Aglaja Solana Roth, Michael Weinmann, and Martin Weinmann

Keywords: Aerial Imagery, 3D Reconstruction, Multi-View Stereo, Neural Radiance Fields, 3D Gaussian Splatting, Sampling

Abstract. In this paper, we focus on investigating the potential of advanced Neural Radiance Fields (NeRFs) and 3D Gaussian Splatting for 3D scene reconstruction from aerial imagery obtained via sensor platforms with an almost nadir-looking camera. Such a setting for image acquisition is convenient for capturing large-scale urban scenes, yet it poses particular challenges arising from imagery with large overlap, very short baselines, similar viewing direction and almost the same but large distance to the scene, and it therefore differs from the usual object-centric scene capture. We apply a traditional approach for image-based 3D reconstruction (COLMAP), a modern NeRF-based approach (Nerfacto) and a representative for the recently introduced 3D Gaussian Splatting approaches (Splatfacto), where the latter two are provided in the Nerfstudio framework. We analyze results achieved on the recently released UseGeo dataset both quantitatively and qualitatively. The achieved results reveal that the traditional COLMAP approach still outperforms Nerfacto and Splatfacto approaches for various scene characteristics, such as less-textured areas, areas with high vegetation, shadowed areas and areas observed from only very few views.