Adaptive Cloud-to-Cloud (AC2C) Comparison Method for Photogrammetric Point Cloud Error Estimation Considering Theoretical Error Space

Hong Huang, Zehao Ye, Cheng Zhang*, Yong Yue, Chunyi Cui, Amin Hammad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The emergence of a photogrammetry-based 3D reconstruction technique enables rapid 3D modeling at a low cost and uncovers many applications in documenting the geometric dimensions of the environment. Although the theoretical accuracy of photogrammetry-based reconstruction has been studied intensively in the literature, the problem remains in evaluating the accuracy of the generated point cloud in practice. Typically, checking the coordinates of ground control points (GCPs) using a total station is considered a promising approach; however, the GCPs have clear and identifiable features and consistent normal vectors or less roughness, which cannot be considered as a typical sample for an accuracy evaluation of the point cloud. Meanwhile, the cloud-to-cloud (C2C) and cloud-to-mesh (C2M) comparison methods usually consider either the closest point or the neighboring points within a fixed searching radius as the “ground truth”, which may not reflect the actual accuracy; therefore, the present paper proposes an adaptive cloud-to-cloud (AC2C) comparison method to search the potential “ground truth” in the theoretical error space. The theoretical error space of each point is estimated according to the position of the corresponding visible cameras and their distances to a target point. A case study is carried out to investigate the feasibility of the proposed AC2C comparison method. The results presented basically the same error distribution range from 0 to 20 mm with the C2C and C2M methods, but with a higher mean value and a much smaller standard deviation. Compared to the existing methods, the proposed method provides new thinking in evaluating the accuracy of SfM-MVS by including the theoretical error constraints.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4289
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • cloud-to-cloud comparison
  • error estimation
  • photogrammetric point cloud
  • SfM-MVS


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