Matching Aerial Images to 3-D Terrain Maps

Jeffrey J. Rodríguez, J. K. Aggarwal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


A new terrain matching algorithm is presented for use in a passive aircraft navigation system. A sequence of aerial images is matched to a reference digital map of the 3-D terrain. Stereo analysis of successive images results in a recovered elevation map. A “cliff map” is then used as a novel compact representation of the 3-D surfaces. The position and heading of the aircraft are determined via a terrain matching algorithm that locates the unknown cliff map within the reference cliff map. The robustness of the matching algorithm is demonstrated by experimental results using real terrain data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1138-1149
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1990


  • Aircraft navigation
  • digital elevation maps
  • image sequence analysis
  • shape matching
  • stereo
  • terrain matching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics


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