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Building a photorealistic, 3D model of an object or a complete scene from image-based methods is a fundamental problem in computer vision, and has many applications in robotic perception, navigation, exploration and mapping. In this paper, we extend current state-of-the-art in the computation of depth maps by presenting an accurate and computationally efficient iterative hierarchical algorithm for multi-view stereo. The algorithm is designed to utilise all available contextual information to compute highly-accurate and robust depth maps by iteratively examining different image resolutions in an image-pyramid. The novelty in our approach is that we are able to incrementally improve the depth fidelity as the algorithm progresses through the image pyramid by utilising a local method. This is achieved in a computationally efficient manner by simultaneously enforcing the consistency of the depth-map by continual comparison with neighbouring depth-maps. We present a detailed description of the algorithm, and describe how each step is carried out. The proposed technique is used to analyse multi-view stereo data from two well-known, standard datasets, and presented results show a significant decrease in computation time, as well as an increase in overall accuracy of the computed depth maps.
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