Contextual segment-based classification of airborne laser scanner data

George Vosselman*, Maximilian Coenen, Franz Rottensteiner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Classification of point clouds is needed as a first step in the extraction of various types of geo-information from point clouds. We present a new approach to contextual classification of segmented airborne laser scanning data. Potential advantages of segment-based classification are easily offset by segmentation errors. We combine different point cloud segmentation methods to minimise both under- and over-segmentation. We propose a contextual segment-based classification using a Conditional Random Field. Segment adjacencies are represented by edges in the graphical model and characterised by a range of features of points along the segment borders. A mix of small and large segments allows the interaction between nearby and distant points. Results of the segment-based classification are compared to results of a point-based CRF classification. Whereas only a small advantage of the segment-based classification is observed for the ISPRS Vaihingen dataset with 4–7 points/m2, the percentage of correctly classified points in a 30 points/m2 dataset of Rotterdam amounts to 91.0% for the segment-based classification vs. 82.8% for the point-based classification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-371
Number of pages18
JournalISPRS journal of photogrammetry and remote sensing
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Classification
  • CRF
  • Point cloud
  • Segmentation
  • 2023 OA procedure


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