GlobalMatch: Registration of forest terrestrial point clouds by global matching of relative stem positions

Xufei Wang, Zexin Yang*, Xiaojun Cheng, Jantien Stoter, Wenbing Xu, Zhenlun Wu, Liangliang Nan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Registering point clouds of forest environments is an essential prerequisite for LiDAR applications in precision forestry. State-of-the-art methods for forest point cloud registration require the extraction of individual tree attributes, and they have an efficiency bottleneck when dealing with point clouds of real-world forests with dense trees. We propose an automatic, robust, and efficient method for the registration of forest point clouds. Our approach first locates tree stems from raw point clouds and then matches the stems based on their relative spatial relationship to determine the registration transformation. The algorithm requires no extra individual tree attributes and has quadratic complexity to the number of trees in the environment, allowing it to align point clouds of large forest environments. Extensive experiments on forest terrestrial point clouds have revealed that our method inherits the effectiveness and robustness of the stem-based registration strategy while exceedingly increasing its efficiency. Besides, we introduce a new benchmark dataset that complements the very few existing open datasets for the development and evaluation of registration methods for forest point clouds. The source code of our method and the dataset are available at

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-86
Number of pages16
JournalISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project
Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Dataset
  • Forest
  • Laser scanning
  • Point cloud
  • Registration


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