TECHNIQUES FOR COMPARING MULTI-TEMPORAL ARCHIVE AERIAL IMAGERY FOR GLACIER MONITORING WITH POOR GROUND CONTROL
Keywords: Archive Aerial images, Change detection, Glacier Monitoring, Ground Control, Multi-Temporal, Point Cloud Comparison, Structure-from-Motion
Abstract. The measurement of geometric changes in Alpine glaciers is an essential aspect to assess their reaction to climate change effects. Archive aerial images may integrate valuable information to this purpose at times when other types of remotely sensed data are not available. The application of photogrammetric techniques such as Structure-from-Motion (SfM) and Multi-View-Stereo matching allows the extraction of dense point clouds to model the glacier environment. The comparison of multiple datasets requires to setup a stable reference system, a task that in archive photos is generally carried out by means of ground control points (GCPs). This paper would like to propose and assess some techniques to cope with the lack of ground control. Multitemporal SfM (MSfM) is presented and tested on a dataset including six different aerial blocks collected by means of analogue (PAN/RGB) and digital airborne cameras from 1967 to 2006. These images have been downloaded from the IGNF online repository and cover the area of the Val Veny (Brenva and Miage glaciers) in the Mount Blanc massif, at the border between Italy and France. Coupled with other solutions (i.e., extraction of GCPs from maps and DTMs and ICP co-registration of point clouds), MSfM has revealed as a suitable technique for coregistration of multiple photogrammetric blocks of aerial photos with minimum ground control. Some tests carried out in the case study area demonstrated that the integration of MSfM and ICP coregistration for refinement may significantly improve the comparison between multiple point clouds, which is a fundamental pre-requisite for the analysis of glacier changes over time.