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Precision vs Accuracy Dilemma in Point-Based Rigid-Body Registration



Marek Franaszek, Geraldine S. Cheok


The purpose of a registration is to find the transformation between two coordinate frames: working frame (from which 3D data are transformed) and destination frame (to which the data are transformed). In point-based, rigid-body registration, the transformation is calculated from measurements of the same physical points acquired in both frames. These two sets of corresponding points are called fiducials and the quality of registration is frequently gauged by the root mean square (RMS) of distances between the fiducials measured in the destination frame and corresponding fiducials transformed from the working frame. However, in practical applications another metric is more useful: RMS of distances between targets measured in the destination frame and the corresponding targets transformed from working frame. Targets are points to which registration transformation is applied but they are not used to calculate the transformation. Thus, smaller target's RMS would correspond to a more accurate registration. Noisy measurements of fiducials in both frames yield noisy registration parameters and they cause the uncertainty of the target point transformed to the destination frame to be larger than the uncertainty of the target measured in the working frame. The increased uncertainty of transformed targets can be used as a measure of registration precision: smaller increase corresponds to more precise registrations. In this study, we show that the precision and accuracy of the registration depend on the location of the fiducials for the general case where the noise is non-homogeneous, anisotropic, and the 3D data contain a bias. The obtained experimental results indicate that the configuration of fiducials which yields a more accurate registration does not necessarily yield a registration that has a small uncertainty and vice versa: the configuration which yields small uncertainties of the transformed targets does not necessarily result in accurate registration.
Proceedings Title
The Journal of the CMSC
Conference Dates
July 25-29, 2016
Conference Location
Nashville, TN
Conference Title
Coordinate Metrology Society Conference CMSC 2016


point-based rigid-body registration, noise and bias in 3D measurements, performance metric of registration


Franaszek, M. and Cheok, G. (2017), Precision vs Accuracy Dilemma in Point-Based Rigid-Body Registration, The Journal of the CMSC, Nashville, TN, [online], (Accessed June 19, 2024)


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Created March 23, 2017, Updated April 1, 2020