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Remote Sens. 2012, 4(6), 1494-1518; doi:10.3390/rs4061494

Application of Semi-Automated Filter to Improve Waveform Lidar Sub-Canopy Elevation Model

1
Department of Geography, University of California, Los Angeles. 1255 Bunche Hall Box 951524, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
2
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology. 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 March 2012 / Revised: 11 May 2012 / Accepted: 14 May 2012 / Published: 25 May 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Laser Scanning in Forests)

Abstract

Modeling sub-canopy elevation is an important step in the processing of waveform lidar data to measure three dimensional forest structure. Here, we present a methodology based on high resolution discrete-return lidar (DRL) to correct the ground elevation derived from large-footprint Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) and to improve measurement of forest structure. We use data acquired over Barro Colorado Island, Panama by LVIS large-footprint lidar (LFL) in 1998 and DRL in 2009. The study found an average vertical difference of 28.7 cm between 98,040 LVIS last-return points and the discrete-return lidar ground surface across the island. The majority (82.3%) of all LVIS points matched discrete return elevations to 2 m or less. Using a multi-step process, the LVIS last-return data is filtered using an iterative approach, expanding window filter to identify outlier points which are not part of the ground surface, as well as applying vertical corrections based on terrain slope within the individual LVIS footprints. The results of the experiment demonstrate that LFL ground surfaces can be effectively filtered using methods adapted from discrete-return lidar point filtering, reducing the average vertical error by 15 cm and reducing the variance in LVIS last-return data by 70 cm. The filters also reduced the largest vertical estimations caused by sensor saturation in the upper reaches of the forest canopy by 14.35 m, which improve forest canopy structure measurement by increasing accuracy in the sub-canopy digital elevation model. View Full-Text
Keywords: laser vegetation imaging sensor; lidar; discrete return lidar; large footprint lidar; sub-canopy topography; point filtering; terrain slope; moist tropical rainforest; Barro Colorado Island laser vegetation imaging sensor; lidar; discrete return lidar; large footprint lidar; sub-canopy topography; point filtering; terrain slope; moist tropical rainforest; Barro Colorado Island
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Fricker, G.A.; Saatchi, S.S.; Meyer, V.; Gillespie, T.W.; Sheng, Y. Application of Semi-Automated Filter to Improve Waveform Lidar Sub-Canopy Elevation Model. Remote Sens. 2012, 4, 1494-1518.

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