Home
zur Startseite

EuroSDR

ISPRS Logo  

Benchmark on High Density Image Matching
for DSM Computation

EuroSDR Logo

Background and Scope of the project

Innovations in matching algorithms as well as the increasing quality of digital airborne cameras considerably improved the quality of elevation data generated automatically from aerial images. This development motivated the launch of the joint ISPRS/EuroSDR project “Benchmark on High Density Aerial Image Matching” aiming at evaluating the potential of photogrammetric 3D data capture in view of the ongoing developments of software for automatic image matching. Basic scope is the evaluation of 3D point clouds and DSM produced from aerial images with different software systems. Such a comparative evaluation provides a platform for software developers to demonstrate the state-of-the-art of their ongoing developments. Furthermore, it can help potential users like National Mapping and Cadastral agencies (NMCAs), which consider a state-wide-generation of high quality DSMs to understand the applicability of such tools while triggering further developments based on their needs.

As a joint test data set subsets of three aerial image blocks are provided. Two data sets cover nadir imagery, which are captured at different landuse and block geometry, while the third data set includes oblique aerial images.

Access to the data is provided by a ftp-server hosted by the Institute for Photogrammetry. The password will be provided upon request after the participant has submitted a signed user agreement from the point of contact

ISPRS/EuroSDR Project Group Dense Image Matching
c/o Prof. Dr.-Ing. Norbert Haala, Stefan Cavegn
Institute for Photogrammetry
Geschwister-Scholl-Str. 24D
70174 Stuttgart
Phone : +49-711-685-83383
Fax : +49-711-685-83297
Norbert.Haala@ifp.uni-stuttgart.de
Stefan.Cavegn@ifp.uni-stuttgart.de

 

Basic scope is the evaluation of elevation data from aerial images with different software systems for image matching. To compare the respective results, it is absolutely essential that all processing is based on the same image orientation. Participants therefore should use the provided image orientations, which are given as individual orientation files with no modification. Corresponding image and ground coordinates are additionally available for each project. Thus, the proper use of the transformations can be controlled by the participants on their own.

Originally, the benchmark covers data from two image blocks captured with standard photogrammetric camera systems. While these data sets are used to evaluate the potential of software systems to generate DSM from nadir imagery, an additional test scenario was set up to investigate the potential of high density image matching for oblique airborne imagery.

Processing parameters

General focus of the benchmark is the comparison of dense multi-stereo matching results as produced by different participants and/or software systems. To allow for comparable results of dense image matching, it is absolutely essential that all the processing is based on the same image orientation. Participants therefore should use the provided orientation, with no modification. For each project corresponding image and ground coordinates are provided a file so the proper use of the transformations can be controlled by the participants on their own.

Oblique Airborne Test Data Sets

The collection and use of oblique imagery for photogrammetric purposes has become increasingly important in addition to standard nadir imagery. As an example, oblique images are integrated in global map services, such as Google Maps, where they are used for visualization but also for 2.5D or 3D information extraction. Airborne oblique views depict facades and footprints of buildings. Thus dense image matching offers a great potential for the automatic extraction of urban 3D models. However, applying dense matching algorithms to oblique imagery introduces some additional challenges such as a higher depth of field resulting in large scale variations, large changes in viewing direction induce larger changes in radiometry and multiple occlusions.

The oblique image block to be used during the test was acquired over the city of Zürich with the medium format camera Leica RCD30 Oblique Penta which features a pixel size of 6 µm and a radiometric resolution of 14 bit. Imagery is captured in a maltese cross configuration, i.e. with one nadir and four oblique cameras. In the test nadir imagery is captured with a GSD of 6 cm and an approximate overlap of 70% in flight and 50% across flight direction. The imagery of the four oblique views mounted at tilt angle of 35° has a GSD of 6-13 cm.

Figure 1: Block configuration with camera stations, nadir image footprints, and nadir overlap (maximum eight-fold) overlaid to DSM

The block configuration for the test area is given in the figure 1, which shows the camera stations as blue dots overlaid to the DSM. For reason of simplicity, the image footprints depicted as blue polygons relate to the nadir camera only. The same holds true for the image overlap as represented by the color coded map. Nevertheless, for each camera station all 5 views are available. Thus, the sub-block to be used in the test consists of 3 strips, each with 9 camera stations, which again provides 5 views each. This results in a total of 3x9x5=135 images

 

Orientation parameters and deliverables

The images with 9000 x 6732 pixels each are free of lens distortion. They are made available as RGB 16 bit tiff data set together with the corresponding interior and exterior orientation parameters. To allow for comparable results, participants should use the orientation parameters provided here with no modification.

In figure xx the area of interest for which the matching results should be provided is represented by the red polygon. It is oriented parallel to the image block, the respective UTM coordinates are

north-west (upper left) 463950 5249400
north-east (upper right) 464450 5249200
south-east (lower right) 464250 5248700
south-west (lower left) 463750 5248900

As it is visible in figure 1, the block is not exactly oriented in east-west direction. The deviation is approximately 20°. Nevertheless, still the terms North, South, East and West are used while referring to the look direction of the respective oblique imagery with respect to the block orientation. Within the image and orientation directory, the images are arranged according to the look direction. Since two stripes where flown in East-West and one in West-East direction, the images relate to two different cameras heads except for the nadir images. This is reflected by different camera direction and number. Furthermore only images were selected, which actually depict the test area. Depending on the viewing direction, this can result in different flight lines and thus different image numbers, which were selected according to the respective time stamp. The following tables summarize the respective imagery.

Viewing direction Nadir

Camera
direction

Camera
number

Flight
line

Time stamp = image number

Nadir

62056

26

121538

121535

121533

121530

121528

121525

121523

121521

121518

Nadir

62056

27

121945

121947

121949

121952

121954

121956

121959

122001

122003

Nadir

62056

28

122316

122313

122311

122309

122306

122304

122301

122259

122257

 

Viewing direction East

Camera
direction

Camera
number

Flight
line

Time stamp = image number

Backward

61005

26

121545

121542

121540

121538

121535

121533

121530

121528

121525

Forward

61001

27

121939

121941

121943

121945

121947

121949

121952

121954

121956

Backward

61005

28

122322

122320

122318

122316

122313

122311

122309

122306

122304

 

Viewing direction South

Camera
direction

Camera
number

Flight
line

Time stamp = image number

Right

61010

25

121239

121241

121243

121245

121247

121248

121250

121252

121254

Left

61007

26

121538

121535

121533

121530

121528

121525

121523

121521

121518

Right

61010

27

121945

121947

121949

121952

121954

121956

121959

122001

122003

 

Viewing direction North

Camera
direction

Camera
number

Flight
line

Time stamp = image number

Left

61007

27

121945

121947

121949

121952

121954

121956

121959

122001

122003

Right

61010

28

122316

122313

122311

122309

122306

122304

122301

122259

122257

Left

61007

29

122657

122659

122701

122704

122706

122709

122711

122713

122716

 

Figure 2: Ortho image of test area Figure 3: Exemplary point cloud overlaid to 3D city model.

Figure 2 depicts the test area to be processed by a red rectangle overlaid to an ortho image. A 3D city model for a section of this area is shown in Figure 3 with an exemplary 3D point cloud additionally overlaid. During the benchmark such 3D point clouds will be used for evaluation of the matching results since they provide the most general output of dense multi-view image matching. Thus 3D point clouds have to be uploaded by the participants as LAS-Files for further analysis. During this evaluation a comparison to reference measures from terrestrial LiDAR will be performed for a number of representative facades. Since terrestrial laser scanning is impossible for a large scene, the decision was taken to choose several distinct reference patches distributed over the whole test area.

Further information on the evaluation procedure can be found in the paper.

Cavegn, S., Haala, N., Nebiker, S., Rothermel, M. & Tutzauer, P., 2014. Benchmarking High Density Image Matching for Oblique Airborne Imagery. In: Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., Zürich, Switzerland, Vol. XL-3, pp. 45-52.

 

Nadir Airborne Test Data Sets

The nadir airborne benchmark is a continuation of a test already implemented in the framework of EuroSDR in the year 2013. Parts of available results were presented and discussed during the 2nd EuroSDR workshop on 'High Density Image Matching for DSM Computation' June 13th to 14th 2013 at the Federal Office of Metrology and Surveying (BEV) in Vienna. Based on the outcome of the workshop, a report on the “Landscape of Dense Image Matching Algorithms” was compiled (see paper and presentation slides).

The nadir airborne benchmark features two data sets with different landuse and block geometry. Vaihingen/Enz is from an aerial image flight collected in a semi-rural area. Both ground sampling distance and image overlap are rather moderate, thus this data set is representative for statewide data collection. In contrast, the test data set München has a higher overlap and resolution and is more typical for applications in densely built-up urban area.

Figure 4: Ortho image and reference DSM of test area Vaihingen/Enz with image footprints and camera stations of UltraCam-X 20cm GSD flight.

The data set Vaihingen/Enz was captured by a UltraCam-X at height above ground of 2900m and a ground sampling distance (GSD) of 20 cm. Figure 4 shows the ortho image and the DSM of the test area. Image footprints and camera stations are additionally overlaid. The overall block consists of 3 strips with 12 images. Participants are required to generate a DSM for the central part with a size of 7.5kmx3.0km at a grid with of 0.2m. Details on the exact definition of the test area and the requested processing are given below.

Figure 5: Color-coded image overlap (maximum nine-folded) for test flight Vaihingen/Enz.

Figure 5 represents the block configuration by a color coded map, with image footprints and camera stations again overlaid. As it is visible, the overlap of 63% in flight and 62% cross flight results in image overlap conditions from one-folded areas (red) to nine-folded overlap (dark green). For the the test area Vaihingen/Enz PAN images are made available as Tiled Tiff uncompressed 8 bit/pix with 9420x14430 pixel at a data volume of 180 Mbyte/image. On demand RGB images can additionally be made available as Tiled Tiff uncompressed 24 bit with 9420x14430 pixel at 537 Mbyte/image.

 

The data set München is provided by the Landesamt für Vermessung und Geoinformation Bayern (LVG) with support from the City of Munich and the Company Astec. While Vaihingen/Enz was selected as an example for nation-wide DSM generation at areas with varying landuse, the data set München is representative for densely built-up urban areas with complex 3D structures. For such applications, images are usually collected at higher resolution and overlap. As it is visible figure 6, the image sub-block to be processed consists of 3 image strips with 5 images each. This results in 80% in flight and 80% cross flight overlap, which provides up to fifteen-folded object points. The München data set covers a central part of the city and was captured by DMC II 230 at a GSD of 10cm. Each image has a size of 15552x14144 pixel at 16 bit/pix. In addition to the PAN images for image matching, again RGB images can be made available on demand i.e. for visualization purposes. The area to be processed has a size of 1.5x1.7km.

Figure 6: München: Color-coded image overlap (maximum fifteen-folded) with image footprints and camera stations (left) and DSM (right).

 

Figure 7: 3D Visualisation of test area München.

A DSM of the test area is shown in figure 6 (right), figure 7 additionally shows a 3D visualization the data set. As it is visible, the area is densely covered by buildings with heights of up to 50m. These buildings result in occlusions especially for surface parts close to the facades. Thus, visibility can be limited for such regions, which will potentially aggravate the matching processes during DSM generation.

 

Processing parameters and deliverables

General focus of the benchmark is the comparison of DSM quality as produced by different participants and/or software systems. To allow for comparable results of dense image matching, it is absolutely essential that all the processing is based on the same image orientation. Participants therefore should use the provided orientation, which is given as Inpho project file and individual orientation files with no modification. For each project corresponding image and ground coordinates are provided a file so the proper use of the transformations can be controlled by the participants on their own.

The camera orientation to be used as a common input is available here

In order to simplify the comparison of the results, the DSM generated from the test participants should be provided in the same geometry i.e. they should feature the same resolution and area as well as the same convention for pixel origin.

 

Area to be processed, pixel center

Size of area

Resolution

Vaihingen

Left: 491800

Bottom: 5418800

Right: 499300

Top: 5421800

37500x15000 pixel

7.5x3.0km

0.2 m

München

Left: 4468200

Bottom: 5332500

Right: 4469700

Top: 5334200

15000x17000 pixel

1.5x1.7km

0.1 m

The results shall be provided by a raw Tiff image encoding with float values corresponding to the elevation in meters. For the pixel origin convention, we propose to adopt the so-called "pixel-center" convention, i.e. the pixel of coordinate (100,90) corresponds to the square [99.5,100.5] x [89.5,90.5] of continuous space. The predefined areas of interest for the respective data sets are given in the above table.

In addition to the DSM data the participants also should provide additional information on used hardware environment and time effort for processing of the benchmark data based on the delivered questionnaire.

Evaluation of test results

For the nadir benchmark the performance of the implemented algorithms is evaluated by analysis of a generated DSM raster. This DSM has to be produced by the respective participants in a predefined format. After deliverance to the project team, the difference to a reference DSM will be computed and made available again to the participant. In contrast, evaluation of the oblique benchmark is performed on 3D point clouds.

The nadir airborne benchmark is a continuation of a test already implemented in the framework of EuroSDR in the year 2013, thus results are already available from a number of participants. Software systems with respective DSM results, which were presented at the workshop were

  • SocetSet 5.6 (NGATE) from BAE Systems
  • Microsoft’s UltraMap V3.1.
  • Match-T DSM 5.5 from Trimble/inpho
  • ImageStation ISAE-Ext from GeoSystems
  • Pixel Factory from Astrium
  • DSM Tool from the Royal Military Academy (RMA) of Brussels
  • Remote Sensing software package from Joanneum Research
  • MicMac developed at IGN
  • SURE from the Institute for Photogrammetry (IfP), University of Stuttgart
  • FPGA implementation of SGM from the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

As a common reference surface, the results provided by the participants were used to generate a median DSM. Of course this median does not provide an independent ground truth. However, it can be used very well to illustrate differences between the respective solutions and thus give hints to situations which are potentially difficult for image matching.

As reference surfaces, two median DSMs were generated based on the results of the 10 participants with a cell width corresponding to the ground sampling distances. Although the reference DSMs are dependent on the DIM results, they are appropriate to highlight DIM differences.

Figure 8 Vaihingen/Enz: Ortho image and median DSM with RMS differences between the available solutions.

Figure 8 shows a an ortho image and a shaded representation of this median for a part of the Vaihingen/Enz test area. A color map representing the root mean square differences of all DSMs with respect to this median is additionally overlaid. As it is visible, larger differences occur in the shaded area of the quarry, in the river area, in the vicinity of patches of trees and in the area of the vineyards. However, while comparing the individual results it becomes obvious that a number of software systems still provide consistent accuracies even for such situations.

Figure 9 München: Ortho image and median DSM with exemplary differences for one solution.

Similarly, results for the test area München are presented in figure 9. For this example a color map representing the differences to the median DSM was generated from a single solution. Larger differences are mainly visible at small details and steep edges which occur in the vicinity of building borders. Furthermore, cast shadows seem to result in larger differences and increasing noise for the reconstructed surfaces.

While a considerable amount of results were already made available to the project team and have been used to compile these preliminary results, the benchmark data is still made available and can be applied to generate new outcome or improve already existing results.

2nd EuroSDR workshop on 'High Density Image Matching for DSM Computation http://geo.tuwien.ac.at/news/2nd-workshop-on-high-density-image-matching-for-dsm-computation-successfully-completed-2013-06-19/

Haala, N., 2013. The Landscape of Dense Image Matching Algorithms. In: D. Fritsch (Ed.), Photogrammetric Week ’13. Wichmann, Berlin/Offenbach, pp. 271-284. paper and presentation slides

Haala, N., 2014. Dense Image Matching Final Report. EuroSDR Publication Series, Official Publication No. 64, pp. 115-145.

 

Principals:

Prof. Dr. Norbert Haala, Stefan Nebiker

Institute for Photogrammetry Universität Stuttgart

Andy McGill

Landesamt für Vermessung und Geoinformation Bayern (LVG)

Prof. Dr. Stephan Nebiker

Institute of Geomatics Engineering, FHNW Muttenz

Prof. Dr. Norbert Pfeifer,

Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation, TU Wien

Michael Franzen, Federal Office for Metrology and Surveying, Wien