Digitization is not as easy as it looks. If one digitizes a 3D object even with a dense sampling grid, the reconstructed digital object may have topological distortions and, in general, there exists no upper bound for the Hausdorff distance. This explains why so far no algorithm has been known which guarantees topology preservation. However, as we will show, it is possible to repair the obtained digital image in a locally bounded way so that it is homeomorphic and close to the 3D object. The resulting digital object is always well-composed, which has nice implications for a lot of image analysis problems. Moreover, we will show that the surface of the original object is homeomorphic to the result of the marching cubes algorithm. This is really surprising since it means that the well-known topological problems of the marching cubes reconstruction simply do not occur for digital images of r-regular objects. Based on the trilinear interpolation, we also construct a smooth isosurface from the digital image that has the same topology as the original surface. Finally, we give a surprisingly simple topology preserving reconstruction method by using overlapping balls instead of cubical voxels. This is the first approach of digitizing 3D objects which guarantees topology preservation and gives an upper bound for the geometric distortion. Since the output can be chosen as a pure voxel presentation, a union of balls, a reconstruction by trilinear interpolation, a smooth isosurface, or the piecewise linear marching cubes surface, the results are directly applicable to a huge class of image analysis algorithms. Moreover, we show how one can efficiently estimate the volume and the surface area of 3D objects by looking at their digitizations. Measuring volume and surface area of digital objects are important problems in 3D image analysis. Good estimators should be multigrid convergent, i.e., the error goes to zero with increasing sampling density. We will show that every presented- - reconstruction method can be used for volume estimation and we will give a solution for the much more difficult problem of multigrid-convergent surface area estimation. Our solution is based on simple counting of voxels and we are the first to be able to give absolute bounds for the surface area

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Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:29 ,  Issue: 1 )