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Identification of damage in buildings based on gaps in 3D point clouds from very high resolution oblique airborne images

Vetrivel, Anand, Gerke, Markus, Kerle, Norman, Vosselman, George
ISPRS journal of photogrammetry and remote sensing 2015 v.105 pp. 61-78
algorithms, buildings, data collection, geometry, models, radiometry, remote sensing, unmanned aerial vehicles, wavelet
Point clouds generated from airborne oblique images have become a suitable source for detailed building damage assessment after a disaster event, since they provide the essential geometric and radiometric features of both roof and façades of the building. However, they often contain gaps that result either from physical damage or from a range of image artefacts or data acquisition conditions. A clear understanding of those reasons, and accurate classification of gap-type, are critical for 3D geometry-based damage assessment. In this study, a methodology was developed to delineate buildings from a point cloud and classify the present gaps. The building delineation process was carried out by identifying and merging the roof segments of single buildings from the pre-segmented 3D point cloud. This approach detected 96% of the buildings from a point cloud generated using airborne oblique images. The gap detection and classification methods were tested using two other data sets obtained with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) images with a ground resolution of around 1–2cm. The methods detected all significant gaps and correctly identified the gaps due to damage. The gaps due to damage were identified based on the surrounding damage pattern, applying Gabor wavelets and a histogram of gradient orientation features. Two learning algorithms – SVM and Random Forests were tested for mapping the damaged regions based on radiometric descriptors. The learning model based on Gabor features with Random Forests performed best, identifying 95% of the damaged regions. The generalization performance of the supervised model, however, was less successful: quality measures decreased by around 15–30%.