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Remote Sens. 2010, 2(3), 874-907; doi:10.3390/rs2030874

Alternative Methodologies for LiDAR System Calibration

* ,
Department of Geomatics Engineering, The University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, T2N 1N4, Calgary, AB, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 January 2010 / Revised: 8 March 2010 / Accepted: 16 March 2010 / Published: 23 March 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue LiDAR)
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Over the last few years, LiDAR has become a popular technology for the direct acquisition of topographic information. In spite of the increasing utilization of this technology in several applications, its accuracy potential has not been fully explored. Most of current LiDAR calibration techniques are based on empirical and proprietary procedures that demand the system’s raw measurements, which may not be always available to the end-user. As a result, we can still observe systematic discrepancies between conjugate surface elements in overlapping LiDAR strips. In this paper, two alternative calibration procedures that overcome the existing limitations are introduced. The first procedure, denoted as “Simplified method”, makes use of the LiDAR point cloud from parallel LiDAR strips acquired by a steady platform (e.g., fixed wing aircraft) over an area with moderately varying elevation. The second procedure, denoted as “Quasi-rigorous method”, can deal with non-parallel strips, but requires time-tagged LiDAR point cloud and navigation data (trajectory position only) acquired by a steady platform. With the widespread adoption of LAS format and easy access to trajectory information, this data requirement is not a problem. The proposed methods can be applied in any type of terrain coverage without the need for control surfaces and are relatively easy to implement. Therefore, they can be used in every flight mission if needed. Besides, the proposed procedures require minimal interaction from the user, which can be completely eliminated after minor extension of the suggested procedure.
Keywords: LiDAR; system calibration; accuracy; error analysis LiDAR; system calibration; accuracy; error analysis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Habib, A.; Bang, K.I.; Kersting, A.P.; Chow, J. Alternative Methodologies for LiDAR System Calibration. Remote Sens. 2010, 2, 874-907.

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