TOWARD AUTOMATIC GEOREFERENCING OF ARCHIVAL AERIAL PHOTOGRAMMETRIC SURVEYS
Images from archival aerial photogrammetric surveys are a unique and relatively unexplored means to chronicle 3D land-cover changes over the past 100 years. They provide a relatively dense temporal sampling of the territories with very high spatial resolution. Such time series image analysis is a mandatory baseline for a large variety of long-term environmental monitoring studies. The current bottleneck for accurate comparison between epochs is their fine georeferencing step. No fully automatic method has been proposed yet and existing studies are rather limited in terms of area and number of dates. State-of-the art shows that the major challenge is the identification of ground references: cartographic coordinates and their position in the archival images. This task is manually performed, and extremely time-consuming. This paper proposes to use a photogrammetric approach, and states that the 3D information that can be computed is the key to full automation. Its original idea lies in a 2-step approach: (i) the computation of a coarse absolute image orientation; (ii) the use of the coarse Digital Surface Model (DSM) information for automatic absolute image orientation. It only relies on a recent orthoimage+DSM, used as master reference for all epochs. The coarse orthoimage, compared with such a reference, allows the identification of dense ground references and the coarse DSM provides their position in the archival images. Results on two areas and 5 dates show that this method is compatible with long and dense archival aerial image series. Satisfactory planimetric and altimetric accuracies are reported, with variations depending on the ground sampling distance of the images and the location of the Ground Control Points.