Image understanding and feature extraction for applications in industry and mapping

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The aim of digital photogrammetry is the automated extraction and classification of the three dimensional information of a scene from a number of images. Existing photogrammetric systems are semi-automatic requiring manual editing and control, and have very limited domains of application so that image understanding capabilities are left to the user. Among the most important steps in a fully integrated system are the extraction of features suitable for matching, the establishment of the correspondence between matching points and object classification. The following study attempts to explore the applicability of pattern recognition concepts in conjunction with existing area-based methods, feature-based techniques and other approaches used in computer vision in order to increase the level of automation and as a general alternative and addition to existing methods. As an illustration of the pattern recognition approach examples of industrial applications are given. The underlying method is then extended to the identification of objects in aerial images of urban scenes and to the location of targets in close-range photogrammetric applications. Various moment-based techniques are considered as pattern classifiers including geometric invariant moments, Legendre moments, Zernike moments and pseudo-Zernike moments. Two-dimensional Fourier transforms are also considered as pattern classifiers. The suitability of these techniques is assessed. These are then applied as object locators and as feature extractors or interest operators. Additionally the use of fractal dimension to segment natural scenes for regional classification in order to limit the search space for particular objects is considered. The pattern recognition techniques require considerable preprocessing of images. The various image processing techniques required are explained where needed. Extracted feature points are matched using relaxation based techniques in conjunction with area-based methods to 'obtain subpixel accuracy. A subpixel pattern recognition based method is also proposed and an investigation into improved area-based subpixel matching methods is undertaken. An algorithm for determining relative orientation parameters incorporating the epipolar line constraint is investigated and compared with a standard relative orientation algorithm. In conclusion a basic system that can be automated based on some novel techniques in conjunction with existing methods is described and implemented in a mapping application. This system could be largely automated with suitably powerful computers.

Bibliography: p. 212-220.