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Corner Point Detection

Corner Point Detection

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Published by: api-3806586 on Oct 17, 2008
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Detection of High Curvature Points in
Planar Curves

This study deals with detection of high curvature points in planar curves. It is well
known [1] that these points play a dominant role in shape perception by humans.
Locations of significant changes in curve slope are, in that respect, similar to intensity
edges. If these characteristic contour points are identified properly, a shape can be
represented in an efficient and compact way with accuracy sufficient in many shape
analysis problems.

Corner detection in planar curves is related to corner detection in grayscale images which
is not addressed here. Characteristic contour points have traditionally been in the focus of
the scale space theory [5] that allows for a `natural', although sophisticated and
computationally demanding, definition of such points at varying scale. However, in many
online applications, especially in industry, processing time is a crucial issue.
Computational load is to be minimized without significant loss of robustness.

Various less complicated corner detection algorithms have been developed. A number of
frequently cited approaches are discussed in the survey by Liu and Srinath [4], where
comparative experimental results are also given. Four of the algorithms tested in [4] are
used in our tests as well, namely those by Rosenfeld and Johnston [6], Rosenfeld and
Weszka[7], Freeman and Davis [3], and Beus and Tiu [2]. In this study, these algorithms
are referred to as RJ73, RW75, FD77, and BT87, respectively. RW75 is a modification of
RJ73, while BT87 is a modification of FD77. A summary of the four algorithms is given
in section2.

Although the notion of corner seems to be intuitively clear, no generally accepted
mathematical definition exists, at least for digital curves. In a sense, different approaches
give different -- but conceptually related -- computational definitions to a visual
phenomenon. The lack of unequivocal ground truth makes comparative performance
evaluation tests less significant than they could, and should, be.

Here we present a new, fast and efficient algorithm for detection of high curvature points.
(For simplicity, they will be called `corner points'.) The parameters of the algorithm are
easy to understand and tune to particular sharpness and scale. The new algorithm,
referred to as IPAN99, is described in section3. (IPAN stands for Image and Pattern
Analysis group.) Experimental results shown in section4 compare the new method to the
alternative ones mentioned above.

Summary of four corner detectors

In this section we give a brief summary of the four alternative corner detection algorithms
used in our comparative tests. The summary is based on the survey [4]. Each algorithm
inputs a chain-coded curve that is converted into a connected sequence of grid points


. A measure of corner strength (`cornerity') is assigned to each point, then corner points are selected based on this measure. For each approach, we summarize these two main steps and list the parameters of the algorithm and their default (`best') values. Setting of the parameters is discussed in more detail in section4.

When processing a point
, the algorithms consider a number of subsequent and
previous points in the sequence, as candidates for the arms of a potential corner in
For a positive integer , the forward and the backward -vectors at point
are defined
are the components of
, respectively.
Rosenfeld and Johnston RJ73
Corner strength.-cosine of the angle between the -vectors is used, which is defined
Selection procedure. Starting from
, is decremented until
stops to
is then selected as the best value
for the point . A corner is indicated in if
for all such that
where is the best value of for the point .
Parameter. The single parameter specifies the maximum considered value of as a
fraction of the total number of curve points
. This limits the length of an arm at
The default value is
Rosenfeld and Weszka RW75
Corner strength. Averaged -cosine of the angle between the -vectors is used, which
is defined as
are given by (3).
Selection procedure. Same as in RJ73, but for
Parameter. Same as in RJ73, with the same default
Corner strength. In a point , the angle between the -axis and the backward -vector
defined in (2) is given as
The incremental curvature is then defined as
Finally, the -strength in is computed as

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