Point cloud data segmentation, filtering, classification, and feature extraction are the main focus of point cloud data processing. DBSCAN (density-based spatial clustering of applications with noise) is capable of detecting arbitrary shapes of clusters in spaces of any dimension, and this method is very suitable for LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data segmentation. The DBSCAN method needs at least two parameters: The minimum number of points minPts
, and the searching radius ε. However, the parameter ε is often harder to determine, which hinders the application of the DBSCAN method in point cloud segmentation. Therefore, a segmentation algorithm based on DBSCAN is proposed with a novel automatic parameter ε estimation method—Estimation Method based on the average of k nearest neighbors’ maximum distance—with which parameter ε can be calculated on the intrinsic properties of the point cloud data. The method is based on the fitting curve of k and the mean maximum distance. The method was evaluated on different types of point cloud data: Airborne, and mobile point cloud data with and without color information. The results show that the accuracy values using ε estimated by the proposed method are 75%, 74%, and 71%, which are higher than those using parameters that are smaller or greater than the estimated one. The results demonstrate that the proposed algorithm can segment different types of LiDAR point clouds with higher accuracy in a robust manner. The algorithm can be applied to airborne and mobile LiDAR point cloud data processing systems, which can reduce manual work and improve the automation of data processing.
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