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Terrestrial laser scanner and retro-reflective targets: an experiment for anomalous effects investigation

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Artificial targets are generally used in terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) practice for data georeferencing. This is because they are well recognized and modelled from the point cloud and their positions can be contemporarily measured by topographical techniques. The accuracy of target identification directly influences the georeferencing quality. In particular, retro-reflective materials can cause anomalies in range measurement due to the too high amplitude of the returned pulse. If the received pulse intensity exceeds the limits of the sensor dynamic range, the receiver saturates, producing a truncated pulse preventing the correct time-of-flight computation. A series of experiments was performed in order to test the performances of a specific instrument (Optech ILRIS 3D) for the acquisition of artificial targets made of retro-reflective material, resulting in very high reflectance. Dealing with ranges lower than about 300 m, two cases were clearly observed: the wrong distance measurement of points over high reflecting surfaces and the presence of haloes around these surfaces. Neglecting these phenomena has serious implications and can lead to wrong georeferencing. Experiments were executed and data was analysed, providing a qualitative and semi-quantitative phenomenon description. Finally, the design of a target that can be easily recognized and correctly modelled was proposed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, Sezione di Bologna, Italy 2: Department of Geosciences, University of Padua, Padua, Italy

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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