The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-7/W2
28 Oct 2013
 | 28 Oct 2013

A procedure for semi‐Automatic Orthophoto Generation from High Resolution Satellite Imagery

M. N. Alrajhi, K. Jacobsen, and C. Heipke

Keywords: Orthophotos, Satellite Imagery, HRSI, Automated image matching

Abstract. The General Directorate of Surveying and Mapping (GDSM), under the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs (MOMRA) is responsible for the production and dissemination of accurate geospatial data for all the metropolitan cities, towns and rural settlements in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. GDSM maintains digital geospatial databases that support the production of conventional line and orthophoto maps at scales ranging from 1:1,000 to 1:20,000. The current procedures for the acquisition of new aerial imagery cover a long time cycle of three or more years. Consequently, the availability of recently acquired High Resolution Satellite Imagery (HRSI) presents an attractive alternative image data source for rapid response to updated geospatial data needs. The direct sensor orientation of HRSI is not accurate enough requiring ground control points (GCP). A field survey of GCP is time consuming and costly.

Seeking an alternative approach, a research study has recently been completed to use existing image and data base information instead of traditional ground control for the orthoprojection of HRSI in order to automate and speed up as much as possible the whole process. Based on a series of practical experiments, the ability for automated matching of aerial and satellite images by using the Speeded-Up Robust Features (SURF) algorithm is demonstrated to be useful for this task. Practical results from matching with SURF validate the ability for multi-scale, multi-sensor and multi-season matching of aerial and satellite images. The matched tie points are then used to transform the satellite orthophoto to the aerial orthophoto through a 2D affine coordinate transformation. GeoEye-1 and IKONOS imagery, when geo-referenced through SURF-based matching and transformed meet the MOMRA Map Accuracy Standards for 1:10,000 and 1:20,000 scale. However, a similarly processed SPOT-5 image does not meet these standards. This research has led to the development of a simple and efficient tool for the geo-referencing of HRSI of 0,5 m to 1 m ground sampling distance (GSD) that can be used for updating map information. The process completely eliminates the need for any ground control as well as image measurements by human operators.