Real-time large-scale dense mapping with surfels

Xingyin Fu, Feng Zhu, Qingxiao Wu, Yunlei Sun, Rongrong Lu, Ruigang Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Real-time dense mapping systems have been developed since the birth of consumer RGB-D cameras. Currently, there are two commonly used models in dense mapping systems: truncated signed distance function (TSDF) and surfel. The state-of-the-art dense mapping systems usually work fine with small-sized regions. The generated dense surface may be unsatisfactory around the loop closures when the system tracking drift grows large. In addition, the efficiency of the system with surfel model slows down when the number of the model points in the map becomes large. In this paper, we propose to use two maps in the dense mapping system. The RGB-D images are integrated into a local surfel map. The old surfels that reconstructed in former times and far away from the camera frustum are moved from the local map to the global map. The updated surfels in the local map when every frame arrives are kept bounded. Therefore, in our system, the scene that can be reconstructed is very large, and the frame rate of our system remains high. We detect loop closures and optimize the pose graph to distribute system tracking drift. The positions and normals of the surfels in the map are also corrected using an embedded deformation graph so that they are consistent with the updated poses. In order to deal with large surface deformations, we propose a new method for constructing constraints with system trajectories and loop closure keyframes. The proposed new method stabilizes large-scale surface deformation. Experimental results show that our novel system behaves better than the prior state-of-the-art dense mapping systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1493
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 9 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Dense mapping
  • Embedded deformation graph
  • Loop closure
  • RGB-D camera
  • Surfel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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