Using Weighted Total Least Squares and 3-D Conformal Coordinate Transformation to Improve the Accuracy of Mobile Laser Scanning

Wi Liu, Zhixiong Li, Yunwang Li, Shuaishuai Sun, Miguel Angel Sotelo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


With the aid of global position system (GPS), mobile laser scanning (MLS) is able to provide 3-D geo-referenced point cloud that has centimeter-level accuracy. The MLS accuracy, however, degrades significantly due to the trajectory errors of the laser scanner and the residual systematic errors from the geo-referencing transformation process in the GPS-free environments. To solve this problem, this article presents a novel integration algorithm based on the weighted total least squares (WTLS) and the 3-D conformal coordinate transformation (3DCCT). In this new method, the 3-D point measurement model and the error propagation parameter vector in the MLS can be updated in real-time, and they can also adjust the geo-referenced coordinate transformation parameters and eliminate the influences of the residual systematic errors during MLS. In this article, the MLS mathematical model is first established, followed up by a detailed analysis for MLS error budget interpreting the effects of the individual error sources. Second, WTLS is used to correct the 3-D point measurement model of MLS and the error of propagation parameter vector; 3DCCT, WTLS, and ground control target feature constraints are applied to eliminate the residual systematic errors in the geo-referencing transformation process. Finally, several data sets from outdoor scenarios are used to evaluate and validate the proposed method. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method can significantly improve the overall accuracy of the MLS system.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8830458
Pages (from-to)203-217
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan


  • 3-D conformal coordinate transformation (3DCCT)
  • mobile laser scanning (MLS)
  • weighted total least squares (WTLS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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