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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(2), 2007-2045; doi:10.3390/rs70202007

Applying Terrestrial Laser Scanning for Soil Surface Roughness Assessment

Department of Geodesy and Geoinformation (GEO), Vienna University of Technology, Gußhausstraße 27-29, Vienna 1040, Austria
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Academic Editors: Nicolas Baghdadi and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 27 August 2014 / Accepted: 26 January 2015 / Published: 11 February 2015
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Abstract

Terrestrial laser scanning can provide high-resolution, two-dimensional sampling of soil surface roughness. While previous studies demonstrated the usefulness of these roughness measurements in geophysical applications, questions about the number of required scans and their resolution were not investigated thoroughly. Here, we suggest a method to generate digital elevation models, while preserving the surface’s stochastic properties at high frequencies and additionally providing an estimate of their spatial resolution. We also study the impact of the number and positions of scans on roughness indices’ estimates. An experiment over a smooth and isotropic soil plot accompanies the analysis, where scanning results are compared to results from active triangulation. The roughness measurement conditions for ideal sampling are revisited and updated for diffraction-limited sampling valid for close-range laser scanning over smooth and isotropic soil roughness. Our results show that terrestrial laser scanning can be readily used for roughness assessment on scales larger than 5 cm, while for smaller scales, special processing is required to mitigate the effect of the laser beam footprint. Interestingly, classical roughness parametrization (correlation length, root mean square height (RMSh)) was not sensitive to these effects. Furthermore, comparing the classical roughness parametrization between one- and four-scan setups shows that the one-scan data can replace the four-scan setup with a relative loss of accuracy below 1% for ranges up to 3 m and incidence angles no larger than 50°, while two opposite scans can replace it over the whole plot. The incidence angle limit for the spectral slope is even stronger and is 40°. These findings are valid for scanning over smooth and isotropic soil roughness. View Full-Text
Keywords: terrestrial laser scanning; triangulating scanner; surface roughness; spatial resolution; autocorrelation; roughness spectrum; correlation length; root mean square height; spectral slope terrestrial laser scanning; triangulating scanner; surface roughness; spatial resolution; autocorrelation; roughness spectrum; correlation length; root mean square height; spectral slope
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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. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Milenković, M.; Pfeifer, N.; Glira, P. Applying Terrestrial Laser Scanning for Soil Surface Roughness Assessment. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 2007-2045.

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