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Sensors 2017, 17(10), 2371; doi:10.3390/s17102371

Comparing RIEGL RiCOPTER UAV LiDAR Derived Canopy Height and DBH with Terrestrial LiDAR

1
Laboratory of Geo-Information Science and Remote Sensing, Wageningen University & Research, Droevendaalsesteeg, 36708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
2
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Situ Gede, Sindang Barang, Bogor 16680, Indonesia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 August 2017 / Revised: 10 October 2017 / Accepted: 13 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue UAV or Drones for Remote Sensing Applications)
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Abstract

In recent years, LIght Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) and especially Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) systems have shown the potential to revolutionise forest structural characterisation by providing unprecedented 3D data. However, manned Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) requires costly campaigns and produces relatively low point density, while TLS is labour intense and time demanding. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)-borne laser scanning can be the way in between. In this study, we present first results and experiences with the RIEGL RiCOPTER with VUX ® -1UAV ALS system and compare it with the well tested RIEGL VZ-400 TLS system. We scanned the same forest plots with both systems over the course of two days. We derived Digital Terrain Model (DTMs), Digital Surface Model (DSMs) and finally Canopy Height Model (CHMs) from the resulting point clouds. ALS CHMs were on average 11.5 c m higher in five plots with different canopy conditions. This showed that TLS could not always detect the top of canopy. Moreover, we extracted trunk segments of 58 trees for ALS and TLS simultaneously, of which 39 could be used to model Diameter at Breast Height (DBH). ALS DBH showed a high agreement with TLS DBH with a correlation coefficient of 0.98 and root mean square error of 4.24 c m . We conclude that RiCOPTER has the potential to perform comparable to TLS for estimating forest canopy height and DBH under the studied forest conditions. Further research should be directed to testing UAV-borne LiDAR for explicit 3D modelling of whole trees to estimate tree volume and subsequently Above-Ground Biomass (AGB). View Full-Text
Keywords: UAV; LiDAR; ALS; TLS; forest inventory UAV; LiDAR; ALS; TLS; forest inventory
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Brede, B.; Lau, A.; Bartholomeus, H.M.; Kooistra, L. Comparing RIEGL RiCOPTER UAV LiDAR Derived Canopy Height and DBH with Terrestrial LiDAR. Sensors 2017, 17, 2371.

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