Automatic registration of multi-source remote-sensing images is a difficult task as it must deal with the varying illuminations and resolutions of the images, different perspectives and the local deformations within the images. This paper proposes a fully automatic and fast non-rigid image registration technique that addresses those issues. The proposed technique performs a pre-registration process that coarsely aligns the input image to the reference image by automatically detecting their matching points by using the scale invariant feature transform (SIFT) method and an affine transformation model. Once the coarse registration is completed, it performs a fine-scale registration process based on a piecewise linear transformation technique using feature points that are detected by the Harris corner detector. The registration process firstly finds in succession, tie point pairs between the input and the reference image by detecting Harris corners and applying a cross-matching strategy based on a wavelet pyramid for a fast search speed. Tie point pairs with large errors are pruned by an error-checking step. The input image is then rectified by using triangulated irregular networks (TINs) to deal with irregular local deformations caused by the fluctuation of the terrain. For each triangular facet of the TIN, affine transformations are estimated and applied for rectification. Experiments with Quickbird, SPOT5, SPOT4, TM remote-sensing images of the Hangzhou area in China demonstrate the efficiency and the accuracy of the proposed technique for multi-source remote-sensing image registration. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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