Are Large-Scale 3D Models Really Necessary for Accurate Visual Localization?

Akihiko Torii, Hajime Taira, Josef Sivic, Marc Pollefeys, Masatoshi Okutomi, Tomas Pajdla, Torsten Sattler
2019 IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence  
Accurate visual localization is a key technology for autonomous navigation. 3D structure-based methods employ 3D models of the scene to estimate the full 6 degree-of-freedom (DOF) pose of a camera very accurately. However, constructing (and extending) large-scale 3D models is still a significant challenge. In contrast, 2D image retrieval-based methods only require a database of geo-tagged images, which is trivial to construct and to maintain. They are often considered inaccurate since they only
more » ... approximate the positions of the cameras. Yet, the exact camera pose can theoretically be recovered when enough relevant database images are retrieved. In this paper, we demonstrate experimentally that large-scale 3D models are not strictly necessary for accurate visual localization. We create reference poses for a large and challenging urban dataset. Using these poses, we show that combining image-based methods with local reconstructions results in a higher pose accuracy compared to state-of-the-art structure-based methods, albeight at higher run-time costs. We show that some of these run-time costs can be alleviated by exploiting known database image poses. Our results suggest that we might want to reconsider the need for large-scale 3D models in favor of more local models, but also that further research is necessary to accelerate the local reconstruction process.
doi:10.1109/tpami.2019.2941876 pmid:31535984 fatcat:y7ii3bxoezd7rh5k5jz7t5arla