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Towards Uniform Point Density: Evaluation of an Adaptive Terrestrial Laser Scanner

Lyles School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
Geospatial Research Lab, Corbin Field Station, 15319 Magnetic Lane, Woodford, VA 22580, USA
Blackmore Sensors and Analytics, Inc., Bozeman, MT 59718, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(7), 880;
Received: 28 February 2019 / Revised: 5 April 2019 / Accepted: 5 April 2019 / Published: 11 April 2019
PDF [16440 KB, uploaded 11 April 2019]


One of the intrinsic properties of conventional terrestrial laser scanning technology is the unevenness of its point density over the scene where objects rendered closer to the scanner are more densely covered than the ones far away. This uneven distribution can be amplified as the working range of a laser scanner gets longer. In such case a higher pulse repetition rate (PRR) is applied to the whole scanning area and the scanning time will be dramatically increased. To improve the efficiency of the conventional laser scanning technology, a prototype of adaptive scanning technology, the HRS3D-AS scanner has been developed by Blackmore Sensors and Analytics, Inc. This paper briefly describes the working principles of the adaptive scanner and presents a thorough evaluation on the distributions of the point density in comparison to the conventional scanning. Based on this study, we show that such a new technology can produce a point cloud of more uniform density and less data volume. The overall field scanning time can be reduced by several times compared to the conventional, PRR-fixed scanning. Such properties are expected to significantly simplify the algorithmic development and increase the productivity in data acquisition and processing. The limitations of this new adaptive scanning technology are also discussed in terms of redundant and unresolved details. Finally, recommendations related to the practicing of such adaptive scan are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: lidar scanning; terrestrial scanner; point density lidar scanning; terrestrial scanner; point density

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Li, Q.; Ma, Y.; Anderson, J.; Curry, J.; Shan, J. Towards Uniform Point Density: Evaluation of an Adaptive Terrestrial Laser Scanner. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 880.

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