Quality assessment and comparison of smartphone, airborne and leica c10 laser scanner based point clouds

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3D urban models are valuable for urban map generation, environment monitoring, safety planning and educational purposes. For 3D measurement of urban structures, generally airborne laser scanning sensors or multi-view satellite images are used as a data source. However, close-range sensors (such as terrestrial laser scanners) and low cost cameras (which can generate point clouds based on photogrammetry) can provide denser sampling of 3D surface geometry. Unfortunately, terrestrial laser scanning sensors are expensive and trained persons are needed to use them for point cloud acquisition. A potential effective 3D modelling can be generated based on a low cost smartphone sensor. Herein, we show examples of using smartphone camera images to generate 3D models of urban structures. We compare a smartphone based 3D model of an example structure with a terrestrial laser scanning point cloud of the structure. This comparison gives us opportunity to discuss the differences in terms of geometrical correctness, as well as the advantages, disadvantages and limitations in data acquisition and processing. We also discuss how smartphone based point clouds can help to solve further problems with 3D urban model generation in a practical way. We show that terrestrial laser scanning point clouds which do not have color information can be colored using smartphones. The experiments, discussions and scientific findings might be insightful for the future studies in fast, easy and low-cost 3D urban model generation field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-586
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Issue numberB5
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • 3D City Models
  • Point Clouds
  • Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS)
  • Structure from Motion (SfM)
  • Multi-view Photogrammetry
  • Low-cost sensors

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