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fitting a curve (3D) to pointcloud data

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I have a pointcloud from which I want to extract the border of a street. I have manually created sampling datapoints using the datacursor.
Now I have a list of x, y, z points from which I want to derive a curve (road boarder).
What is the best method of making such a curve given a list of x y z points. It should be smooth.
Thanks for any help!

Accepted Answer

Are Mjaavatten
Are Mjaavatten on 20 May 2019
Assuming that the points are listed in sequence along your curve, you can express x, y, and z as functions of the (approximate) position along the curve, using splines. To illustrate and test, I first generate a set of points to represent your point cloud. The points are randomly distributed along a 3D curve:
t = sort(rand(50,1))*10;
x = sin(t);
y = cos(1.7*t);
z = sin(t*0.22);
grid on
Of course, you do not know the parameter t, so we must create a parameter vector s, based on the euclidean distance between points:
s = zeros(size(x));
for i = 2:length(x)
s(i) = s(i-1) + sqrt((x(i)-x(i-1))^2+(y(i)-y(i-1))^2+(z(i)-z(i-1))^2);
Now you have x, y, and z as functions of s, and you can generate splines passing through the points:
ss = linspace(0,s(end),100);
xx = spline(s,x,ss);
yy = spline(s,y,ss);
zz = spline(s,z,ss);
hold on
hold off
If there is noise in your data and you want to smooth the curve, consider using polyfit / polyval instead of spline.
If your points are not in sequence, the problem gets MUCH harder to automate, and I recommend that you sequence them manually.
Rupert Schaffarz
Rupert Schaffarz on 20 May 2019
Dear Are!
Thank you so much. It works perfectly.
Again.. I am very grateful for your help!

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More Answers (3)

Amir Suhail
Amir Suhail on 1 Jan 2020
I have similar question. I want to take equdistant points (say N points ) on smooth approximating curve through my data points (x,y,z).

jigsaw on 21 Sep 2019
Are Mjaavatten's answer works great for me. The following lines can be modified a bit to be more concise. Replace the
s = zeros(size(x));
for i = 2:length(x)
s(i) = s(i-1) + sqrt((x(i)-x(i-1))^2+(y(i)-y(i-1))^2+(z(i)-z(i-1))^2);
s = [0;cumsum(flip(sqrt((x(end:-1:2)-x(end-1:-1:1)).^2+(y(end:-1:2)-y(end-1:-1:1)).^2+(z(end:-1:2)-z(end-1:-1:1)).^2)))];
  1 Comment
darova on 21 Sep 2019
there is helpful function: diff()

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deb.P on 8 Nov 2019
i have a question: i have fitted a curve to my 3 variable data set according to the code Are Mjaavatten has mentioned. Now i want to know what is the equation of the fitted curve.
  1 Comment
Are Mjaavatten
Are Mjaavatten on 9 Nov 2019
If you have used the polyfit version, px, py and pz give the coefficients for the fitted polynomials in s. See the docmentation for polyfit for details.
If you used spline, the expressions are piecewise cubic spline polynomials. Se the documentation for spline for details.

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