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Guidelines for the Registration of Two Coordinate Frames



Geraldine S. Cheok, Marek Franaszek


The purpose of registration is to obtain the transformation matrix between two coordinate frames. Typically, sensors record positional measurements in their own local coordinate frame. When positional data are acquired by two instruments or two datasets are acquired with the same instrument placed in two different locations, some of the points may be measured only in one frame but have to be accessed in the other frame. In order to register one frame to the other, a set of common points measured in both frames must be obtained. The quality of registration will usually depend on the location and noise of the points used for registration. The procedures in this paper provide guidance on selecting points for registration and for calculating four metrics for determining the quality of registration.
Technical Note (NIST TN) - 1911
Report Number


guidelines, performance metrics, point-based, rigid body registration, registration


Cheok, G. and Franaszek, M. (2016), Guidelines for the Registration of Two Coordinate Frames, Technical Note (NIST TN), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed March 2, 2024)
Created March 2, 2016, Updated November 10, 2018