Geographically accurate scene models have enormous potential beyond that of just simple visualizations in regard to automated scene generation. In recent years, thanks to ever increasing computational efficiencies, there has been significant growth in both the computer vision and photogrammetry communities pertaining to automatic scene reconstruction from multiple-view imagery. The result of these algorithms is a three-dimensional (3D) point cloud which can be used to derive a final model using surface reconstruction techniques. However, the fidelity of these point clouds has not been well studied, and voids often exist within the point cloud. Voids exist in texturally difficult areas, as well as areas where multiple views were not obtained during collection, constant occlusion existed due to collection angles or overlapping scene geometry, or in regions that failed to triangulate accurately. It may be possible to fill in small voids in the scene using surface reconstruction or hole-filling techniques, but this is not the case with larger more complex voids, and attempting to reconstruct them using only the knowledge of the incomplete point cloud is neither accurate nor aesthetically pleasing.

A method is presented for identifying voids in point clouds by using a voxel-based approach to partition the 3D space. By using collection geometry and information derived from the point cloud, it is possible to detect unsampled voxels such that voids can be identified. This analysis takes into account the location of the camera and the 3D points themselves to capitalize on the idea of free space, such that voxels that lie on the ray between the camera and point are devoid of obstruction, as a clear line of sight is a necessary requirement for reconstruction. Using this approach, voxels are classified into three categories: occupied (contains points from the point cloud), free (rays from the camera to the point passed through the voxel), and unsampled (does not contain points and no rays passed through the area). Voids in the voxel space are manifested as unsampled voxels. A similar line-of-sight analysis can then be used to pinpoint locations at aircraft altitude at which the voids in the point clouds could theoretically be imaged. This work is based on the assumption that inclusion of more images of the void areas in the 3D reconstruction process will reduce the number of voids in the point cloud that were a result of lack of coverage. Voids resulting from texturally difficult areas will not benefit from more imagery in the reconstruction process, and thus are identified and removed prior to the determination of future potential imaging locations.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Optical radar--Data processing; Image analysis; Remote-sensing images--Data processing

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Imaging Science (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


Carl Salvaggio

Advisor/Committee Member

David Messinger

Advisor/Committee Member

Derek J.Walvoord


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TA1637 .S358 2015


RIT – Main Campus

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