Underwater applications of photogrammetric measurement techniques usually need to deal with multimedia photogrammetry aspects, which are characterized by the necessity of handling optical rays that are refracted at interfaces between optical media with different refractive indices according to Snell’s Law. This so-called multimedia geometry has to be incorporated into geometric models in order to achieve correct measurement results. The paper shows a flexible yet strict geometric model for the handling of refraction effects on the optical path, which can be implemented as a module into photogrammetric standard tools such as spatial resection, spatial intersection, bundle adjustment or epipolar line computation. The module is especially well suited for applications, where an object in water is observed by cameras in air through one or more planar glass interfaces, as it allows for some simplifications here. In the second part of the paper, several aspects, which are relevant for an assessment of the accuracy potential in underwater/multimedia photogrammetry, are discussed. These aspects include network geometry and interface planarity issues as well as effects caused by refractive index variations and dispersion and diffusion under water. All these factors contribute to a rather significant degradation of the geometric accuracy potential in underwater/multimedia photogrammetry. In practical experiments, a degradation of the quality of results by a factor two could be determined under relatively favorable conditions.
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