FAST EDGE DETECTION AND SEGMENTATION OF TERRESTRIAL LASER SCANS THROUGH NORMAL VARIATION ANALYSIS
Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) utilizes light detection and ranging (lidar) to effectively and efficiently acquire point cloud data for a wide variety of applications. Segmentation is a common procedure of post-processing to group the point cloud into a number of clusters to simplify the data for the sequential modelling and analysis needed for most applications. This paper presents a novel method to rapidly segment TLS data based on edge detection and region growing. First, by computing the projected incidence angles and performing the normal variation analysis, the silhouette edges and intersection edges are separated from the smooth surfaces. Then a modified region growing algorithm groups the points lying on the same smooth surface. The proposed method efficiently exploits the gridded scan pattern utilized during acquisition of TLS data from most sensors and takes advantage of parallel programming to process approximately 1 million points per second. Moreover, the proposed segmentation does not require estimation of the normal at each point, which limits the errors in normal estimation propagating to segmentation. Both an indoor and outdoor scene are used for an experiment to demonstrate and discuss the effectiveness and robustness of the proposed segmentation method.