A photogrammetric approach to fusing natural colour and thermal infrared UAS imagery in 3D point cloud generation

Javadnejad, Farid; Gillins, Daniel T.; Parrish, Christopher E.; Slocum, Richard K.
January 2020
International Journal of Remote Sensing;Jan2020, Vol. 41 Issue 1, p211
Academic Journal
The inclusion of thermal infrared (TIR) data in point clouds derived from unmanned aircraft system (UAS) imagery can benefit a variety of applications in which surface temperature and 3D geometry are both important discriminants of feature type and condition. Low resolution and narrow fields of view (FOV) of current consumer-grade TIR cameras on UAS, combined with the lack of sharpness and texture in many image regions, may cause failure or poor results from structure from motion (SfM) photogrammetric software, which has gained widespread use for generating point clouds from UAS imagery. This paper proposes a photogrammetric approach for generating 3D multispectral point clouds utilizing coacquired TIR-RGB images. A 3D point cloud is first generated from the RGB imagery using standard SfM procedures. Then the TIR attributes are assigned to points, where the image coordinates of the points in TIR images are estimated using transformation parameters obtained from co-registration procedures. To obtain RGB-to-TIR transformation parameters, this study tests 3D and 2D co-registration approaches. The latter produces better results due to the challenge of calibrating the TIR camera as required for the 3D approach. This proposed approach is advantageous for generating TIR point clouds without loss of photogrammetric precision compared with solely TIR-based SfM, as the 3D accuracy, point density, and reliability are greatly enhanced.


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