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The selection of suitable features and their parameters for the classification of three-dimensional laser range data is a crucial issue for high-quality results. In this paper we compare the performance of different histogram descriptors and their parameters on three urban datasets recorded with various sensors—sweeping SICK lasers, tilting SICK lasers and a Velodyne 3D laser range scanner. These descriptors are 1D, 2D, and 3D histograms capturing the distribution of normals or points around a query point. We also propose a novel histogram descriptor, which relies on the spectral values in different scales. We argue that choosing a larger support radius and a z-axis based global reference frame/axis can boost the performance of all kinds of investigated classification models significantly. The 3D histograms relying on the point distribution, normal orientations, or spectral values, turned out to be the best choice for the classification in urban environments.

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