Rail Track Detection and Modelling in Mobile Laser Scanner Data

S.J. Oude Elberink*, K. Khoshelham, M. Arastounia, D. Díaz Benito

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)
74 Downloads (Pure)


We present a method for detecting and modelling rails in mobile laser scanner data. The detection is based on the properties of the rail tracks and contact wires such as relative height, linearity and relative position with respect to other objects. Points classified as rail track are used in a 3D modelling algorithm. The modelling is done by first fitting a parametric model of a rail piece to the points along each track, and estimating the position and orientation parameters of each piece model. For each position and orientation parameter a smooth low-order Fourier curve is interpolated. Using all interpolated parameters a mesh model of the rail is reconstructed. The method is explained using two areas from a dataset acquired by a LYNX mobile mapping system in a mountainous area. Residuals between railway laser points and 3D models are in the range of 2 cm. It is concluded that a curve fitting algorithm is essential to reliably and accurately model the rail tracks by using the knowledge that railways are following a continuous and smooth path.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Subtitle of host publicationISPRS Workshop Laser Scanning 2013
EditorsM. Scaioni, R.C. Lindenbergh, S. Oude Elberink, D. Schneider, F. Pirotti
Place of PublicationAntalya
PublisherInternational Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS)
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2013
EventISPRS International Workshop on Laser Scanning 2013: Volume II-5/W2, 2013 Volumes WG V/3, I/2, I/3, III/2, V/2, VII/7, ICWG I/Va ISPRS Workshop Laser Scanning 2013 (Volume II-5/W2) 11–13 November 2013, Antalya, Turkey - Antalya, Turkey
Duration: 11 Nov 201313 Nov 2013

Publication series

NameISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
ISSN (Print)2194-9042


ConferenceISPRS International Workshop on Laser Scanning 2013
Internet address


  • Automation
  • Classification
  • Fitting
  • Interpolation
  • Markov Chain
  • MLS
  • Monte Carlo
  • Point Cloud
  • Railway


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