The automatic and accurate registration of terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) data is a topic of great interest in the domains of city modeling, construction surveying or cultural heritage. While numerous of the most recent approaches focus on keypoint-based point cloud registration relying on forward-projected 2D keypoints detected in panoramic intensity images, little attention has been paid to the selection of appropriate keypoint detector-descriptor combinations. Instead, keypoints are commonly detected and described by applying well-known methods such as the Scale Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT) or Speeded-Up Robust Features (SURF). In this paper, we present a framework for evaluating the influence of different keypoint detector-descriptor combinations on the results of point cloud registration. For this purpose, we involve five different approaches for extracting local features from the panoramic intensity images and exploit the range information of putative feature correspondences in order to define bearing vectors which, in turn, may be exploited to transfer the task of point cloud registration from the object space to the observation space. With an extensive evaluation of our framework on a standard benchmark TLS dataset, we clearly demonstrate that replacing SIFT and SURF detectors and descriptors by more recent approaches significantly alleviates point cloud registration in terms of accuracy, efficiency and robustness.
Urban, S., & Weinmann, M. (2015). Finding a good feature detector-descriptor combination for the 2d keypoint-based registration of tls point clouds. In ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences (Vol. 2, pp. 121–128). Copernicus GmbH. https://doi.org/10.5194/isprsannals-II-3-W5-121-2015