Unmanned Scanning

Ansgar Dreier et al.: Quality Analysis of Direct Georeferencing in Aspects of Absolute Accuracy and Precision for a UAV-Based Laser Scanning System 08.09.2021

The use of UAV-based laser scanning systems is increasing due to the rapid development in sensor technology, especially in applications such as topographic surveys or forestry. One advantage of these multi-sensor systems is the possibility of direct georeferencing of the derived 3D point clouds in a global reference frame without additional information from Ground Control Points (GCPs). This paper addresses the quality analysis of direct georeferencing of a UAV-based laser scanning system focusing on the absolute accuracy and precision of the system. The system investigated is based on the RIEGL miniVUX-SYS and the evaluation uses the estimated point clouds compared to a reference point cloud from Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) for two different study areas. The precision is estimated by multiple repetitions of the same measurement and the use of artificial objects, such as targets and tables, resulting in a standard deviation of <1.2 cm for the horizontal and vertical directions. The absolute accuracy is determined using a point-based evaluation, which results in the RMSE being <2 cm for the horizontal direction and <4 cm for the vertical direction, compared to the TLS reference. The results are consistent for the two different study areas with similar evaluation approaches but different flight planning and processing. In addition, the influence of different Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) master stations is investigated and no significant difference was found between Virtual Reference Stations (VRS) and a dedicated master station. Furthermore, to control the orientation of the point cloud, a parameter-based analysis using planes in object space was performed, which showed a good agreement with the reference within the noise level of the point cloud. The calculated quality parameters are all smaller than the manufacturer's specifications and can be transferred to other multi-sensor systems.

The full article was published in the Remote Sensing Journal (2021, 13(18), 3564), publishing house: MDPI, and can be found here.