Creative Nightscapes and Time-Lapses
This paper presents a new framework to help transform visual surveys of a natural environment into time-lapses. As data association across year-long variation in appearance continues to represent a formidable challenge, we present success with a map-centric approach, which builds on 3D vision for visual data association. We use a foundation of map point priors and geometric constraints within a dense correspondence image alignment optimization to align images and acquire loop closures between
... closures between surveys. This framework produces many loop closures between sessions. Outlier loop closures are filtered in the frontend and in the backend to improve robustness. From the result map, the Reprojection Flow algorithm is applied to create time-lapses. The evaluation of our framework on the Symphony Lake Dataset, which has considerable variation in appearance, led to year-long time-lapses of many different scenes. In comparison to another approach based on using ICP plus a homography, our framework produced more and better quality alignments. With many scenes of the 1.3 km environment consistently aligning well in random image pairs, we next produced 100 time-lapses across 37 surveys captured in a year. Approximately one third had at least 20 (out of usually 33) well-aligned images, which spanned all four seasons. With promising results, we evaluated the pose error of misaligned image pairs and found that improving map consistency could lead to even better results.