A novel method for plane extraction from low-resolution inhomogeneous point clouds and its application to a customized low-cost mobile mapping system

Wenzheng Fan, Wenzhong Shi, Haodong Xiang, Ke Ding

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Over the last decade, increasing demands for building interior mapping have brought the challenge of effectively and e°ciently acquiring geometric information. Most mobile mapping methods rely on the integration of Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) and costly Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs). Meanwhile, the methods also suffer misalignment errors caused by the low-resolution inhomogeneous point clouds captured using multi-line Mobile Laser Scanners (MLSs). While point-based alignments between such point clouds are affected by the highly dynamic moving patterns of the platform, plane-based methods are limited by the poor quality of the planes extracted, which reduce the methods' robustness, reliability, and applicability. To alleviate these issues, we proposed and developed a method for plane extraction from low-resolution inhomogeneous point clouds. Based on the definition of virtual scanlines and the Enhanced Line Simplification (ELS) algorithm, the method extracts feature points, generates line segments, forms patches, and merges multi-direction fractions to form planes. The proposed method reduces the over-segmentation fractions caused by measurement noise and scanline curvature. A dedicated plane-to-plane point cloud alignment workflow based on the proposed plane extraction method was created to demonstrate the method's application. The implementation of the coarse-to-fine procedure and the shortest-path initialization strategy eliminates the necessity of IMUs in mobile mapping. A mobile mapping prototype was designed to test the performance of the proposed methods. The results show that the proposed workflow and hardware system achieves centimeter-level accuracy, which suggests that it can be applied to mobile mapping and sensor fusion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2789
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Douglas-Peucker algorithm
  • Inhomogeneous point clouds
  • Mobile mapping
  • Plane extraction
  • Scanlines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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