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Remote Sens. 2011, 3(7), 1365-1379; doi:10.3390/rs3071365

Transmittance of Airborne Laser Scanning Pulses for Boreal Forest Elevation Modeling

1,* , 1
1 Finnish Geodetic Institute, Geodeetinrinne 2, FI-02431 Masala, Finland 2 Department of Forest Resource Management, University of Helsinki, Latokartanonkaari 7, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 May 2011 / Revised: 22 June 2011 / Accepted: 24 June 2011 / Published: 4 July 2011
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The transmittance of laser pulses through the forest canopy was studied as a function of forest attributes (inventory parameters) and the scanning angle from the point of view of elevation modeling. Here transmittance is defined as the ratio of the number of pulses within a threshold of the detected elevation model to the total number of transmitted pulses. Airborne laser scanning (ALS) using a Leica ALS50-II scanner took place on 25 July 2009 in the Evo test area in Southern Finland. The total number of circular field test plots with a radius of 10 meters was 246. Several of the test plots were observed from two different flight lines, and this resulted in 454 observations. Multiple regression analysis was applied to calculate statistical parameters for the scanning angle and the forest attributes. The canopy layer is an important factor that influences the number of ground hits. We found that the characteristics of the trees determine the number of transmitted pulses penetrating down to the ground level. When using scanning angles between 0 to 15 degrees in forested areas, the results showed that the scanning angle did not have a statistically significant effect on the vegetation penetration nor on the number of ground hits. It appears to be feasible to increase the scanning angle for boreal forest elevation modeling if some degree of local shadowing can be accepted in the data. By increasing the scanning angle, it is also possible to perform laser scanning and digital aerial photography simultaneously even over forested areas. Nationwide laser scanning in Finland and Sweden is carried out with scanning angles of ±20 degrees, but further studies are needed to assess the results when using even larger scanning angles.
Keywords: airborne laser scanning; scanning angle; transmittance airborne laser scanning; scanning angle; transmittance
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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Ahokas, E.; Hyyppä, J.; Yu, X.; Holopainen, M. Transmittance of Airborne Laser Scanning Pulses for Boreal Forest Elevation Modeling. Remote Sens. 2011, 3, 1365-1379.

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