Multipass hierarchical stereo matching for generation of digital terrain models from aerial images

Yi Ping Hung*, Chu Song Chen, Kuan Chung Hung, Yong-Sheng Chen, Chiou Shann Fuh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This paper presents a new multi-pass hierarchical stereo-matching approach for generation of digital terrain models (DTMs) from two overlapping aerial images. Our method consists of multiple passes which compute stereo matches with a coarse-to-fine and sparse-to-dense paradigm. An image pyramid is generated and used in the hierarchical stereo matching. Within each pass, the DTM is refined by using the image pyramid from the coarse to the fine level. At the coarsest level of the first pass, a global stereo-matching technique, the intra-/inter-scanline matching method, is used to generate a good initial DTM for the subsequent stereo matching. Thereafter, hierarchical block matching is applied to image locations where features are detected to refine the DTM incrementally. In the first pass, only the feature points near salient edge segments are considered in block matching. In the second pass, all the feature points are considered, and the DTM obtained from the first pass is used as the initial condition for local searching. For the passes after the second pass, 3D interactive manual editing can be incorporated into the automatic DTM refinement process whenever necessary. Experimental results have shown that our method can successfully provide accurate DTM from aerial images. The success of our approach and system has also been demonstrated with a flight simulation software.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-291
Number of pages12
JournalMachine Vision and Applications
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1998


  • Computer vision
  • DTM generation
  • Interactive editing
  • Stereo matching
  • Surface reconstruction


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