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Registering 3D Point Clouds: An Experimental Evaluation



Christoph J. Witzgall, Geraldine Cheok


Four separate laser scans of a wooden box, taken from different vantage points, were examined in a laboratory setting. Visual and numerical registration methods, aimed at aligning the individual scan data with respect to a common frame, were explored. The numerical registration method aligns point clouds with triangulated elevated surfaces (TIN) optimizing residual-based measures-of-fit, as outlined in this report. Essential procedures for data filtering are described including methods for shadow delineation. Data phenomena beyond common noise were uncovered, particularly, phantom points resulting from split signals. Such points interfere with determining occlusions. Results from four experiments applying numerical and visual procedures are reported.
NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR) - 6743
Report Number


Delaunay triangulation, elevated surfaces, laser scan, occlusion, registration, residual-measure-of-fit, shadow delineation, split signal, TIN


Witzgall, C. and Cheok, G. (2001), Registering 3D Point Clouds: An Experimental Evaluation, NIST Interagency/Internal Report (NISTIR), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed June 25, 2024)


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Created April 30, 2001, Updated October 12, 2021