A group of researchers from China and the Netherlands have demonstrated the ability to use baselines instead of point cloud registration which they claim is more accurate.
Instead of registering the clouds to a common coordinate system the researchers recommend that baselines be established and used to detect differences between the point clouds.
From the abstract, “Baselines connect feature points within one scan. To analyze changes, baselines connecting corresponding points in two scans are compared. As feature points either targets or virtual points corresponding to some reconstructable feature in the scene are used. The new method is implemented on two scans sampling a masonry laboratory building before and after seismic testing, that resulted in damages in the order of several centimeters.”
This method was then compared to traditional change detection methods.