Image-based rendering (IBR) has received much attention in recent years for its ability to synthesize photo-realistic novel views. To support translational motion, existing IBR methods either require a large amount of reference images or assume that some geometric information is available. However, rendering with a large amount of images is very expensive in terms of image acquisition, data storage, and memory costs. As IBR accepts various kinds of geometric proxy, we may use image registration techniques, such as stereo matching and structure and motion recognition, to obtain geometric information to help reduce the number of images required. Unfortunately, existing image registration techniques only support a small search range and require closely sampled reference images. This results in a high spatial sampling rate, making IBR impractical for use in scalable walkthrough environments. Our primary objective of this project is to develop an image registration technique that would recover the geometric proxy for IBR while, at the same time, reducing the number of reference images required. In this paper, we analyze the roles and requirements of an image registration technique for reducing the spatial sampling rate. Based on these requirements, we present a novel image registration technique to automatically recover the geometric proxy from reference images. With the distinguishing feature of supporting a large search range, the new method can accurately identify correspondences even though the reference images may only be sparsely sampled. This can significantly reduce the acquisition effort, the model size, and the memory cost.