Rail track detection and modelling in mobile laser scanning data

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

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)
43 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 publicationWorkshop Laser Scanning 2013
Subtitle of host publication11-13 November 2013, Antalya, Turkey
EditorsM. Scaioni, R.C. Lindenbergh, S. Oude Elberink, D. Schneider, F. Pirotti
PublisherInternational Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS)
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventISPRS Workshop Laser Scanning 2013 - Antalya, Turkey
Duration: 11 Nov 201313 Nov 2013
https://www.isprs-ann-photogramm-remote-sens-spatial-inf-sci.net/II-5-W2/index.html (Full text Open Access proceedings)

Publication series

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


ConferenceISPRS Workshop Laser Scanning 2013
OtherISPRS Annals Volume II-5/W2
Internet address


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


Dive into the research topics of 'Rail track detection and modelling in mobile laser scanning data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this