Three-Dimensional Reconstruction of Structural Surface Model of Heritage Bridges Using UAV-Based Photogrammetric Point Clouds
Three-dimensional (3D) digital technology is essential to the maintenance and monitoring of cultural heritage sites. In the field of bridge engineering, 3D models generated from point clouds of existing bridges is drawing increasing attention. Currently, the widespread use of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) provides a practical solution for generating 3D point clouds as well as models, which can drastically reduce the manual effort and cost involved. In this study, we present a semi-automated
... nt a semi-automated framework for generating structural surface models of heritage bridges. To be specific, we propose to tackle this challenge via a novel top-down method for segmenting main bridge components, combined with rule-based classification, to produce labeled 3D models from UAV photogrammetric point clouds. The point clouds of the heritage bridge are generated from the captured UAV images through the structure-from-motion workflow. A segmentation method is developed based on the supervoxel structure and global graph optimization, which can effectively separate bridge components based on geometric features. Then, recognition by the use of a classification tree and bridge geometry is utilized to recognize different structural elements from the obtained segments. Finally, surface modeling is conducted to generate surface models of the recognized elements. Experiments using two bridges in China demonstrate the potential of the presented structural model reconstruction method using UAV photogrammetry and point cloud processing in 3D digital documentation of heritage bridges. By using given markers, the reconstruction error of point clouds can be as small as 0.4%. Moreover, the precision and recall of segmentation results using testing date are better than 0.8, and a recognition accuracy better than 0.8 is achieved.