Sensors 2008, 8(8), 4505-4528; doi:10.3390/s8084505
Article

Object-Based Point Cloud Analysis of Full-Waveform Airborne Laser Scanning Data for Urban Vegetation Classification

1,2,* email, 3email, 4email and 3email
Received: 1 July 2008; in revised form: 28 July 2008 / Accepted: 28 July 2008 / Published: 4 August 2008
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Land Surface Properties, Patterns and Processes)
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.
Abstract: Airborne laser scanning (ALS) is a remote sensing technique well-suited for 3D vegetation mapping and structure characterization because the emitted laser pulses are able to penetrate small gaps in the vegetation canopy. The backscattered echoes from the foliage, woody vegetation, the terrain, and other objects are detected, leading to a cloud of points. Higher echo densities (> 20 echoes/m2) and additional classification variables from full-waveform (FWF) ALS data, namely echo amplitude, echo width and information on multiple echoes from one shot, offer new possibilities in classifying the ALS point cloud. Currently FWF sensor information is hardly used for classification purposes. This contribution presents an object-based point cloud analysis (OBPA) approach, combining segmentation and classification of the 3D FWF ALS points designed to detect tall vegetation in urban environments. The definition tall vegetation includes trees and shrubs, but excludes grassland and herbage. In the applied procedure FWF ALS echoes are segmented by a seeded region growing procedure. All echoes sorted descending by their surface roughness are used as seed points. Segments are grown based on echo width homogeneity. Next, segment statistics (mean, standard deviation, and coefficient of variation) are calculated by aggregating echo features such as amplitude and surface roughness. For classification a rule base is derived automatically from a training area using a statistical classification tree. To demonstrate our method we present data of three sites with around 500,000 echoes each. The accuracy of the classified vegetation segments is evaluated for two independent validation sites. In a point-wise error assessment, where the classification is compared with manually classified 3D points, completeness and correctness better than 90% are reached for the validation sites. In comparison to many other algorithms the proposed 3D point classification works on the original measurements directly, i.e. the acquired points. Gridding of the data is not necessary, a process which is inherently coupled to loss of data and precision. The 3D properties provide especially a good separability of buildings and terrain points respectively, if they are occluded by vegetation.
Keywords: Object-based point cloud analysis; Urban vegetation; Segmentation; 3D feature calculation; Classification; Error assessment; Full-waveform; Airborne laser scanning.
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MDPI and ACS Style

Rutzinger, M.; Höfle, B.; Hollaus, M.; Pfeifer, N. Object-Based Point Cloud Analysis of Full-Waveform Airborne Laser Scanning Data for Urban Vegetation Classification. Sensors 2008, 8, 4505-4528.

AMA Style

Rutzinger M, Höfle B, Hollaus M, Pfeifer N. Object-Based Point Cloud Analysis of Full-Waveform Airborne Laser Scanning Data for Urban Vegetation Classification. Sensors. 2008; 8(8):4505-4528.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rutzinger, Martin; Höfle, Bernhard; Hollaus, Markus; Pfeifer, Norbert. 2008. "Object-Based Point Cloud Analysis of Full-Waveform Airborne Laser Scanning Data for Urban Vegetation Classification." Sensors 8, no. 8: 4505-4528.


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