Enhanced trajectory estimation of mobile laser scanners using aerial images

Z. Hussnain, S. Oude Elberink, G. Vosselman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
145 Downloads (Pure)


Multipath effects and signal obstruction by buildings in urban canyons can lead to inaccurate GNSS measurements and therefore errors in the estimated trajectory of Mobile Laser Scanning (MLS) systems; consequently, derived point clouds are distorted and lose spatial consistency. We obtain decimetre-level trajectory accuracy making use of corresponding points between the MLS data and aerial images with accurate exterior orientations instead of using ground control points. The MLS trajectory is estimated based on observation equations resulting from these corresponding points, the original IMU observations, and soft constraints on the pitch and yaw rotations of the vehicle. We analyse the quality of the trajectory enhancement under several conditions where the experiments were designed to test the influence of the number and quality of corresponding points and to test different settings for a B-spline representation of the vehicle trajectory. The method was tested on two independently acquired MLS datasets in Rotterdam by enhancing the trajectories and evaluating them using checkpoints. The RMSE values of the original GNSS/IMU based Kalman filter results at the checkpoints were 0.26 m, 0.30 m, and 0.47 m for the X-, Y- and Z-coordinates in the first dataset and 1.10 m, 1.51 m, and 1.81 m in the second dataset. The latter dataset was recorded with a lower quality IMU in an area with taller buildings. After trajectory adjustment these RMSE values were reduced to 0.09 m, 0.11 m, and 0.16 m for the first dataset and 0.12 m, 0.14 m, and 0.18 m for the second dataset. The results confirmed that, if sufficient tie points between the point cloud and aerial imagery are available, the method supports geo-referencing of MLS point clouds in urban canyons with a near-decimetre accuracy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-78
Number of pages13
JournalISPRS journal of photogrammetry and remote sensing
Early online date17 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Image to point cloud matching
  • Mobile laser scanning
  • Point cloud
  • Trajectory adjustment
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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