LAPM: a tool for underwater large-area photo-mosaicking
Abstract. This paper presents a new tool for large-area photo-mosaicking (LAPM tool). This tool was developed specifically for the purpose of underwater mosaicking, and it is aimed at providing end-user scientists with an easy and robust way to construct large photo-mosaics from any set of images. It is notably capable of constructing mosaics with an unlimited number of images on any modern computer (minimum 1.30 GHz, 2 GB RAM). The mosaicking process can rely on both feature matching and navigation data. This is complemented by an intuitive graphical user interface, which gives the user the ability to select feature matches between any pair of overlapping images. Finally, mosaic files are given geographic attributes that permit direct import into ArcGIS. So far, the LAPM tool has been successfully used to construct geo-referenced photo-mosaics with photo and video material from several scientific cruises. The largest photo-mosaic contained more than 5000 images for a total area of about 105 000 m2. This is the first article to present and to provide a finished and functional program to construct large geo-referenced photo-mosaics of the seafloor using feature detection and matching techniques. It also presents concrete examples of photo-mosaics produced with the LAPM tool.