Digital image correlation (DIC) is a commonly-adopted technique in geoscience and natural hazard studies to measure the surface deformation of various geophysical phenomena. In the last decades, several different correlation functions have been developed. Additionally, some authors have proposed applying DIC to other image representations, such as image gradients or orientation. Many works have shown the reliability of specific methods, but they have been rarely compared. In particular, a formal analysis of the impact of different sources of noise is missing. Using synthetic images, we analysed 15 different combinations of correlation functions and image representations and we investigated their performances with respect to the presence of 13 noise sources. Besides, we evaluated the influence of the size of the correlation template. We conducted the analysis also on terrestrial photographs of the Planpincieux Glacier (Italy) and Sentinel 2B images of the Bodélé Depression (Chad). We observed that frequency-based methods are in general less robust against noise, in particular against blurring and speckling, and they tend to underestimate the displacement value. Zero-mean normalised cross-correlation applied to image intensity showed high-quality results. However, it suffers variations of the shadow pattern. Finally, we developed an original similarity function (DOT) that proved to be quite resistant to every noise source.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited