The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLIII-B1-2022
30 May 2022
 | 30 May 2022


F. Pirotti, M. Piragnolo, A. Vettore, and A. Guarnieri

Keywords: Photogrammetry, UAV, lidar, cloud to cloud difference

Abstract. Massive point clouds have now become a common product from surveys using passive (photogrammetry) or active (laser scanning) technologies. A common question is what is the difference in terms of accuracy and precision of different technologies and processing options. In this work four ultra-dense point-clouds (PCs) from drone surveys are compared. Two PCs were created from imagery using a photogrammetric workflow, with and without ground control points. The laser scanning PCs were created with two drone flights with Riegl MiniVUX-3 lidar sensor, resulting in a point cloud with ~300 million points, and Riegl VUX-120 lidar sensor, leading to a point cloud with ~1 billion points. Relative differences between pairs from permutations of the four PCs are analysed calculating point-to-point distances over nearest neighbours. Eleven clipped PC subsets are used for this task. Ground control points (GCPs) are also used to assess residuals in the two photogrammetric point clouds in order to quantify the improvement from using GCPs vs not using GCPs when processing the images.

Results related to comparing the two photogrammetric point clouds with and without GCPs show an improvement of average absolute position error from 0.12 m to 0.05 m and RMSE from 0.03 m to 0.01 m. Point-to-point distances over the PC pairs show that the closest point clouds are the two lidar clouds, with mean absolute distance (MAD), median absolute distance (MdAD) and standard deviation of distances (RMSE) respectively of 0.031 m, 0.025 m, 0.019 m; largest difference is between photogrammetric PC with GCPs, with 0.208 m, 0.206 m and 0.116 m, with the Z component providing most of the difference. Photogrammetry without GCP was more consistent with the lidar point clouds, with MAD of 0.064 m, MdAD of 0.048 m and RMSE value of 0.114 m.