The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XXXIX-B5
30 Jul 2012
 | 30 Jul 2012


H. Kaartinen, A. Kukko, J. Hyyppä, and A. Jaakkola

Keywords: GPS/INS, Reference Data, Systems, Laser scanning, Point Cloud, Accuracy, Mobile, Geometric

Abstract. The objective of the study was to benchmark the geometric accuracy of mobile laser scanning (MLS) systems using a permanent test field under good coverage of GNSS. Mobile laser scanning, also called mobile terrestrial laser scanning, is currently a rapidly developing area in laser scanning where laser scanners, GNSS and IMU are mounted onboard a moving vehicle. MLS can be considered to fill the gap between airborne and terrestrial laser scanning. Data provided by MLS systems can be characterized with the following technical parameters: a) point density in the range of 100-1000 points per m2 at 10 m distance, b) distance measurement accuracy of 2-5 cm, and c) operational scanning range from 1 to 100 m. Several commercial, including e.g. Riegl, Optech and others, and some research mobile laser scanning systems surveyed the test field using predefined driving speed and directions. The acquired georeferenced point clouds were delivered for analyzing. The geometric accuracy of the point clouds was determined using the reference targets that could be identified and measured from the point cloud. Results show that in good GNSS conditions most systems can reach an accuracy of 2 cm both in plane and elevation. The accuracy of a low cost system, the price of which is less than tenth of the other systems, seems to be within a few centimetres at least in ground elevation determination. Inaccuracies in the relative orientation of the instruments lead to systematic errors and when several scanners are used, in multiple reproductions of the objects. Mobile laser scanning systems can collect high density point cloud data with high accuracy. A permanent test field suits well for verifying and comparing the performance of different mobile laser scanning systems. The accuracy of the relative orientation between the mapping instruments needs more attention. For example, if the object is seen double in the point cloud due to imperfect boresight calibration between two scanners, this will make especially the automatic modelling of the object much more challenging.