From point samples to surfaces – on meshing and alternatives

Boehm J., Pateraki M., 2006. From point samples to surfaces – on meshing and alternatives. In: Proc. of the ISPRS Commission V Symposium Image Engineering and Vision Metrology, IAPRS, Vol. 37, Part B5. [pdf] [bib]


Terrestrial laser scanners deliver a dense point-wise sampling of an object’s surface. For many applications a surface-like reconstruction is required. The most typical example is the visualization of the scanned data. Traditional approaches use meshing algorithms to reconstruct and triangulate the surface represented by the points. Especially in cultural heritage, where complex objects with delicate structures are recorded in highly detailed scans, this process is not without problems. Often long and tedious manual clean-up procedures are required to achieve satisfactory results. After summarizing our experience with current meshing technology we therefore explore alternative approaches for surface reconstruction. An alternative approach presented within this paper is point splatting. We have developed an algorithm to compute a suitable surfel representation directly from the raw laser scanner data. This results in a speedy and fully automated procedure for surface reconstruction. The properties of the different approaches for surface reconstruction are discussed considering a practical example from the field of cultural heritage. The Panagia Kera in Kritsa near Agios Nikolaos on the island of Crete was chosen as a suitable example.

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