Calibration of terrestrial laser scanners (TLSs) is one of the fundamental tasks for assuring the high measurement accuracy required by an increasing number of end-users. Nevertheless, the development of user-oriented calibration approaches is still an active topic of research. The calibration fields for the target-based self-calibration of TLSs described in the literature are based on the quasi-random distribution of a high number of targets, and they rely on heavy redundancy. This redundancy assures highly accurate calibration results, however, with the price of reduced efficiency. In contrast, this work follows the design, implementation, and validation of a user-oriented, cost-efficient calibration field intended for TLS calibration prior to measurement campaigns. Multiple goals and constraints are placed upon the design of the calibration field, such as comprehensive calibration for high-end panoramic TLSs considering all relevant mechanical misalignments, delivering stable and reusable calibration parameters, increasing calibration efficiency by minimizing calibration-field assembly, measurement acquisition and processing time through reducing the number of targets and scanner stations, as well as estimating calibration parameters with predefined quality criteria. The calibration field design was derived through a series of simulation experiments and it was compared with the current state of the art. The simulations indicate comparable calibration results, with eight times smaller number of targets (14 instead of 120). The implemented calibration field was tested on a range of instruments, successfully improving the measurement quality, both in situ and in the subsequent applications.
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