Co-registration and correlation of aerial photographs for ground deformation measurements

François Ayoub, Sébastien Leprince, Jean Philippe Avouac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Citations (Scopus)


We describe and test a procedure to accurately co-register and correlate multi-temporal aerial images. We show that this procedure can be used to measure surface deformation, and explore the performance and limitations of the technique. The algorithms were implemented in a software package, COSI-Corr (available from the Caltech Tectonics Observatory website). The technique is validated on several case examples of co-seismic deformation. First, we measure co-seismic ground deformation due to the 1992, Mw 7.3, Landers, California, earthquake from 1 m resolution aerial photography of the National Aerial Photography Program (United States Geological Survey). The fault ruptures are clearly detected, including small kilometric segments with fault slip as small as a few tens of centimeters. We also obtained similar performance from images of the fault ruptures produced by the 1999 Mw 7.1 Hector Mine, California, earthquake. The measurements are shown to be biased due to the inaccuracy of the Digital Elevation Model, film distortions, scanning artifacts, and ignorance of ground displacements at the location of the tie points used to co-register the multi-temporal images. We show that some of these artifacts can be identified and corrected.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-560
Number of pages10
JournalISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Nov 2009


  • Aerial
  • Change detection
  • Correlation
  • Photography
  • Registration


Dive into the research topics of 'Co-registration and correlation of aerial photographs for ground deformation measurements'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this