Pairwise coarse registration of point clouds in urban scenes using voxel-based 4-planes congruent sets

Yusheng Xu, Richard Boerner, Wei Yao, Ludwig Hoegner, Uwe Stilla

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


To ensure complete coverage when measuring a large-scale urban area, pairwise registration between point clouds acquired via terrestrial laser scanning or stereo image matching is usually necessary when there is insufficient georeferencing information from additional GNSS and INS sensors. In this paper, we propose a semi-automatic and target-less method for coarse registration of point clouds using geometric constraints of voxel-based 4-plane congruent sets (V4PCS). The planar patches are firstly extracted from voxelized point clouds. Then, the transformation invariant, 4-plane congruent sets are constructed from extracted planar surfaces in each point cloud. Initial transformation parameters between point clouds are estimated via corresponding congruent sets having the highest registration scores in the RANSAC process. Finally, a closed-form solution is performed to achieve optimized transformation parameters by finding all corresponding planar patches using the initial transformation parameters. Experimental results reveal that our proposed method can be effective for registering point clouds acquired from various scenes. A success rate of better than 80% was achieved, with average rotation errors of about 0.5 degrees and average translation errors less than approximately 0.6 m. In addition, our proposed method is more efficient than other baseline methods when using the same hardware and software configuration conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-123
Number of pages18
JournalISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • 4PCS
  • Coarse registration
  • Planar surface
  • Point cloud
  • Urban scene
  • Voxelization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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