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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 5, 2014

Influence of surface reflectivity on reflectorless electronic distance measurement and terrestrial laser scanning

Miriam Zámečníková, Andreas Wieser, Helmut Woschitz and Camillo Ressl


The uncertainty of electronic distance measurement to surfaces rather than to dedicated precisionre flectors (reflectorless EDM) is afected by the entire system comprising instrument, atmosphere and surface. The impact of the latter is significant for applications like geodetic monitoring, high-precision surface modelling or laser scanner self-calibration. Nevertheless, it has not yet received sufficient attention and is not well understood. We have carried out an experimental investigation of the impact of surface reflectivity on the distance measurements of a terrestrial laser scanner. The investigation helps to clarify (i)whether variations of reflectivity cause systematic deviations of reflectorless EDM, and (ii) if so, whether it is possible and worth modelling these deviations. The results show that differences in reflectivity may actually cause systematic deviations of a few mm with diffusely re- flecting surfaces and even more with directionally reflecting ones. Using abivariate quadratic polynomial we were able to approximate these deviations as a function of measured distance and measured signal strength alone. Using this approximation to predict corrections, the deviations of the measurements could be reduced by about 70% in our experiment.We conclude that there is a systematic effect of surface reflectivity (or equivalently received signal strength) on the distance measurement and that it is possible to model and predict this effect. Integration into laser scanner calibration models may be beneficial for high precision applications. The results may apply to a broad range of instruments, not only to the specific laser scanner used herein.

Received: 2014-8-8
Accepted: 2014-10-3
Published Online: 2014-12-5
Published in Print: 2014-11-1

© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston