A novel approach to register multi-platform point clouds for rockfall monitoring

D. Bolkas, G. Walton, R. Kromer, T. Sichler, L. Weidner

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Point cloud produced from technologies such as terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) and photogrammetry (terrestrial and aerial) are widely used in rockfall monitoring applications due to the wealth of data they provide. In such applications, the acquisition and registration of multi-epoch point clouds is necessary. In addition, point clouds can be derived from different sensors (e.g., lasers versus digital cameras) and different platforms (terrestrial versus aerial). Therefore, registration methods should be able to support multi-platform datasets. Currently, registration of multi-platform datasets is done with manual intervention, and automatic registration is difficult. While registration of TLS point clouds can be achieved by targets that are not on the rock surface, this is not the case for photogrammetric methods, as ground control points (GCPs) should be located on the rock surface. Such GCPs can be lost or destroyed with time, and re-establishing them is difficult. Automated registration often relies on feature-based algorithms with refinement using the iterative closest point (ICP) algorithm. This paper presents a novel registration approach of multi-epoch and multi-platform point clouds to support rockfall monitoring applications. The registration method is based on edges that are detected in the different datasets using α-molecules. The paper shows application examples of the novel approach at different rock slopes in Colorado. Results demonstrate that the developed method in many cases performs better than the well-known ICP method and can be used to register point clouds and support rockfall monitoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)693-700
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences - ISPRS Archives
Issue numberB2-2021
StatePublished - Jun 28 2021
Event2021 24th ISPRS Congress Commission II: Imaging Today, Foreseeing Tomorrow - Virtual, Online, France
Duration: Jul 5 2021Jul 9 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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