Abstract:This paper presents a new approach to the automatic registration of terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) point clouds using panoramic reflectance images. The approach follows a two-step procedure that includes both pair-wise registration and global registration. The pair-wise registration consists of image matching (pixel-to-pixel correspondence) and point cloud registration (point-to-point correspondence), as the correspondence between the image and the point cloud (pixel-to-point) is inherent to the reflectance images. False correspondences are removed by a geometric invariance check. The pixel to-point correspondence and the computation of the rigid transformation parameters (RTPs) are integrated into an iterative process that allows for the pair-wise registration to be optimised. The global registration of all point clouds is obtained by a bundle adjustment using a circular self-closure constraint. Our approach is tested with both indoor and outdoor scenes acquired by a FARO LS 880 laser scanner with an angular resolution of 0.036º and 0.045º, respectively. The results show that the pair-wise and global registration accuracies are of millimetre and centimetre orders, respectively, and that the process is fully automatic and converges quickly.