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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(11), 940; doi:10.3390/rs8110940

Deriving and Evaluating City-Wide Vegetation Heights from a TanDEM-X DEM

Applied Geoinformation Science Lab, Department of Geography, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Conghe Song, Junxiang Li, Weiqi Zhou, James Campbell, Clement Atzberger and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 19 July 2016 / Revised: 2 October 2016 / Accepted: 28 October 2016 / Published: 11 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Urban Ecology)
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Vegetation provides important functions and services in urban areas, and vegetation heights divided into vertical and horizontal units can be used as indicators for its assessment. Conversely, detailed area-wide and updated height information is frequently missing for most urban areas. This study sought to assess three vegetation height classes from a globally available TanDEM-X digital elevation model (DEM, 12 × 12 m spatial resolution) for Berlin, Germany. Subsequently, height distribution and its accuracy across biotope classes were derived. For this, a TanDEM-X intermediate DEM, a LiDAR DTM, an UltraCamX vegetation layer, and a biotope map were included. The applied framework comprised techniques of data integration and raster algebra for: Deriving a height model for all of Berlin, masking non-vegetated areas, classifying two canopy height models (CHMs) for bushes/shrubs and trees, deriving vegetation heights for 12 biotope classes and assessing accuracies using validation CHMs. The findings highlighted the possibility of assessing vegetation heights for total vegetation, trees and bushes/shrubs with low and consistent offsets of mean heights (total CHM: −1.56 m; CHM for trees: −2.23 m; CHM bushes/shrubs: 0.60 m). Negative offsets are likely caused by X-band canopy penetrations. Between the biotope classes, large variations of height and area were identified (vegetation height/biotope and area/biotope: ~3.50–~16.00 m; 4.44%–96.53%). The framework and results offer a great asset for citywide and spatially explicit assessment of vegetation heights as an input for urban ecology studies, such as investigating habitat diversity based on the vegetation’s heterogeneity. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban vegetation height; TanDEM-X, airborne LiDAR, canopy height model; urban ecosystem services; spatial analyses; biotope; urban land use urban vegetation height; TanDEM-X, airborne LiDAR, canopy height model; urban ecosystem services; spatial analyses; biotope; urban land use

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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Schreyer, J.; Lakes, T. Deriving and Evaluating City-Wide Vegetation Heights from a TanDEM-X DEM. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 940.

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