Challenges of Close-Range Underwater Optical Mapping

Underwater optical mapping often involves the use of image mosaicing techniques. High quality mosaicing requires the application of blending methods to achieve continuous and artifact-free mosaics. Image blending has a dilated history of over three decades in the terrestrial and aerial fields. Unfortunately, the nature of the underwater medium adds additional difficulties to the mosaicing and blending tasks. In this paper a survey of the blending methods is given, focusing the attention on its applicability to underwater mosaicing. Image acquisition is performed by Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) or Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) in the deep ocean, a medium with aggressive light absorption and disrupting scattering effects that requires of the use of artificial lighting. A comprehensive comparison of the basic features and limitations of some of the most important existing blending techniques is presented. The goal is the generation of seamless and visually pleasant large area photo-mosaics of the seafloor, free from double contouring, ghosting and other disturbing and common blending artifacts ​
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