Abstract: Few studies have evaluated the precision of IKONOS stereo data for measuring forest canopy height. The high cost of airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data collection for large area studies and the present lack of a spaceborne instrument lead to the need to explore other low cost options. The US Government currently has access to a large archive of commercial high-resolution imagery, which could be quite valuable to forest structure studies. At 1 m resolution, we here compared canopy height models (CHMs) and height data derived from Goddard’s airborne LiDAR Hyper-spectral and Thermal Imager (G-LiHT) with three types of IKONOS stereo derived digital surface models (DSMs) that estimate CHMs by subtracting National Elevation Data (NED) digital terrain models (DTMs). We found the following in three different forested regions of the US after excluding heterogeneous and disturbed forest samples: (1) G-LiHT DTMs were highly correlated with NED DTMs with R2 > 0.98 and root mean square errors (RMSEs) < 2.96 m; (2) when using one visually identifiable ground control point (GCP) from NED, G-LiHT DSMs and IKONOS DSMs had R2 > 0.84 and RMSEs of 2.7 to 4.1 m; and (3) one GCP CHMs for two study sites had R2 > 0.7 and RMSEs of 2.6 to 3 m where data were collected less than four years apart. Our results suggest that IKONOS stereo data are a useful LiDAR alternative where high-quality DTMs are available.
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Neigh, C.S.R.; Masek, J.G.; Bourget, P.; Cook, B.; Huang, C.; Rishmawi, K.; Zhao, F. Deciphering the Precision of Stereo IKONOS Canopy Height Models for US Forests with G-LiHT Airborne LiDAR. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 1762-1782.
Neigh CSR, Masek JG, Bourget P, Cook B, Huang C, Rishmawi K, Zhao F. Deciphering the Precision of Stereo IKONOS Canopy Height Models for US Forests with G-LiHT Airborne LiDAR. Remote Sensing. 2014; 6(3):1762-1782.
Neigh, Christopher S.R.; Masek, Jeffrey G.; Bourget, Paul; Cook, Bruce; Huang, Chengquan; Rishmawi, Khaldoun; Zhao, Feng. 2014. "Deciphering the Precision of Stereo IKONOS Canopy Height Models for US Forests with G-LiHT Airborne LiDAR." Remote Sens. 6, no. 3: 1762-1782.