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Calibration Experiments of a Laser Scanner



Geraldine S. Cheok, Stefan D. Leigh, Andrew L. Rukhin


The potential applications of laser scanners or LADARs (Laser Detection and Ranging) are numerous, and they cross several sectors of the industry construction, large-scale manufacturing, remote sensing, national defense. A LADAR is an instrument which can rapidly capture 3-D data of a scene in the form of x, y, z points. The confidence in end products of the applications 3D models, positioning, derived quantities depends largely on the accuracy and precision of the laser scanner. For potential analyses of error propagation, instrumental uncertainties need to be determined.This report chronicles exploratory experiments conducted at the National Institute of Standards and Technology to characterize a LADAR with the focus on accuracy and precision. The variables considered were distance, angle of incidence, and target color. Other characteristics of the LADAR such as the intensity and beam divergence were also examined.The findings indicate that the there was no obvious global color effect on accuracy. Decreased measurement accuracy was observed for higher angles of incidence. Reflectivity also contributes to measurement error with highly reflective targets exhibiting large errors in the shorter ranges and low reflective targets being less precise in the longer ranges.These initial efforts contribute to the understanding of what is required to calibrate similar sensors in terms of significant parameters, test procedures, and calibration facility requirements.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6922
Report Number


angle of incidence, calibration, color, distance metrology, LADAR, laser scanner, reflectivity


Cheok, G. , Leigh, S. and Rukhin, A. (2002), Calibration Experiments of a Laser Scanner, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 18, 2024)
Created September 1, 2002, Updated February 19, 2017