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Angular resolution of terrestrial laser scanners

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Knowledge of a laser scanner's spatial resolution is necessary in order to prevent aliasing and estimate the level of detail that can be resolved from a scanned point cloud. Spatial resolution can be decoupled into range and angular components. The latter is the focus of this paper and is governed primarily by sampling interval and laser beamwidth. However, emphasis is often placed on one of these—typically sampling interval—as an indicator of resolution. Since both affect the resolution of a scanned point cloud, consideration of only one factor independent of the other can lead to a misunderstanding of a system's capabilities. This will be demonstrated to be inappropriate except under very specific conditions. A new, more appropriate resolution measure for laser scanners, the effective instantaneous field of view (EIFOV), is proposed. It is derived by modelling the shift variance of the equal angular increment sampling process, laser beamwidth-induced positional uncertainty and observed angle quantisation with ensemble average modulation transfer functions (AMTFs). Several commercially available terrestrial laser scanner systems are modelled and analysed in terms of their angular resolution capabilities using the EIFOV.
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Keywords: effective instantaneous field of view; laser beamwidth; laser scanning; modulation transfer function; resolution; sampling

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: ( ) Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia, Email: [email protected] 2: ( ) Ministry of Agriculture, Thimphu, Bhutan, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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