The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-3/W3
20 Aug 2015
 | 20 Aug 2015


T. Dokken, V. Skytt, and O. Barrowclough

Keywords: Big data, smooth shape, splines, local refinement, elevation model

Abstract. When viewed from distance, large parts of the topography of landmasses and the bathymetry of the sea and ocean floor can be regarded as a smooth background with local features. Consequently a digital elevation model combining a compact smooth representation of the background with locally added features has the potential of providing a compact and accurate representation for topography and bathymetry. The recent introduction of Locally Refined B-Splines (LR B-splines) allows the granularity of spline representations to be locally adapted to the complexity of the smooth shape approximated. This allows few degrees of freedom to be used in areas with little variation, while adding extra degrees of freedom in areas in need of more modelling flexibility. In the EU fp7 Integrating Project IQmulus we exploit LR B-splines for approximating large point clouds representing bathymetry of the smooth sea and ocean floor. A drastic reduction is demonstrated in the bulk of the data representation compared to the size of input point clouds. The representation is very well suited for exploiting the power of GPUs for visualization as the spline format is transferred to the GPU and the triangulation needed for the visualization is generated on the GPU according to the viewing parameters. The LR B-splines are interoperable with other elevation model representations such as LIDAR data, raster representations and triangulated irregular networks as these can be used as input to the LR B-spline approximation algorithms. Output to these formats can be generated from the LR B-spline applications according to the resolution criteria required. The spline models are well suited for change detection as new sensor data can efficiently be compared to the compact LR B-spline representation.