Nonrigid registration using Gaussian processes and local likelihood estimation

by   Ashton Wiens, et al.

Surface registration, the task of aligning several multidimensional point sets, is a necessary task in many scientific fields. In this work, a novel statistical approach is developed to solve the problem of nonrigid registration. While the application of an affine transformation results in rigid registration, using a general nonlinear function to achieve nonrigid registration is necessary when the point sets require deformations that change over space. The use of a local likelihood-based approach using windowed Gaussian processes provides a flexible way to accurately estimate the nonrigid deformation. This strategy also makes registration of massive data sets feasible by splitting the data into many subsets. The estimation results yield spatially-varying local rigid registration parameters. Gaussian process surface models are then fit to the parameter fields, allowing prediction of the transformation parameters at unestimated locations, specifically at observation locations in the unregistered data set. Applying these transformations results in a global, nonrigid registration. A penalty on the transformation parameters is included in the likelihood objective function. Combined with smoothing of the local estimates from the surface models, the nonrigid registration model can prevent the problem of overfitting. The efficacy of the nonrigid registration method is tested in two simulation studies, varying the number of windows and number of points, as well as the type of deformation. The nonrigid method is applied to a pair of massive remote sensing elevation data sets exhibiting complex geological terrain, with improved accuracy and uncertainty quantification in a cross validation study versus two rigid registration methods.


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