Precision 3D surface reconstruction from LRO NAC images using semi-global matching with coupled epipolar rectification

Han Hu, Bo Wu

Research output: Journal article publicationConference articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The Narrow-Angle Camera (NAC) on board the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) comprises of a pair of closely attached high-resolution push-broom sensors, in order to improve the swath coverage. However, the two image sensors do not share the same lenses and cannot be modelled geometrically using a single physical model. Thus, previous works on dense matching of stereo pairs of NAC images would generally create two to four stereo models, each with an irregular and overlapping region of varying size. Semi-Global Matching (SGM) is a well-known dense matching method and has been widely used for image-based 3D surface reconstruction. SGM is a global matching algorithm relying on global inference in a larger context rather than individual pixels to establish stable correspondences. The stereo configuration of LRO NAC images causes severe problem for image matching methods such as SGM, which emphasizes global matching strategy. Aiming at using SGM for image matching of LRO NAC stereo pairs for precision 3D surface reconstruction, this paper presents a coupled epipolar rectification methods for LRO NAC stereo images, which merges the image pair in the disparity space and in this way, only one stereo model will be estimated. For a stereo pair (four) of NAC images, the method starts with the boresight calibration by finding correspondence in the small overlapping stripe between each pair of NAC images and bundle adjustment of the stereo pair, in order to clean the vertical disparities. Then, the dominate direction of the images are estimated by project the center of the coverage area to the reference image and back-projected to the bounding box plane determined by the image orientation parameters iteratively. The dominate direction will determine an affine model, by which the pair of NAC images are warped onto the object space with a given ground resolution and in the meantime, a mask is produced indicating the owner of each pixel. SGM is then used to generate a disparity map for the stereo pair and each correspondence is transformed back to the owner and 3D points are derived through photogrammetric space intersection. Experimental results reveal that the proposed method is able to reduce gaps and inconsistencies caused by the inaccurate boresight offsets between the two NAC cameras and the irregular overlapping regions, and finally generate precise and consistent 3D surface models from the NAC stereo images automatically.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences - ISPRS Archives
Issue number3W1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2017
Event2017 International Symposium on Planetary Remote Sensing and Mapping, PRSM 2017 - Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 13 Aug 201716 Aug 2017


  • Epipolar rectification
  • Semi-global matching
  • Surface reconstruction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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