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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(3), 220; doi:10.3390/rs9030220

Calibration and Validation of a Detailed Architectural Canopy Model Reconstruction for the Simulation of Synthetic Hemispherical Images and Airborne LiDAR Data

1
GmbH, Centre for Climate Change Adaptation, Grabenweg 68, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
2
Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
3
Institute for Interdisciplinary Mountain Research, Austrian Academy of Science, Technikerstr. 21a, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Anu Swatantran, L. Monika Moskal and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 20 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 February 2017 / Published: 28 February 2017
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Abstract

Canopy density measures such as the Leaf Area Index (LAI) have become standardized mapping products derived from airborne and terrestrial Light Detection And Ranging (aLiDAR and tLiDAR, respectively) data. A specific application of LiDAR point clouds is their integration into radiative transfer models (RTM) of varying complexity. Using, e.g., ray tracing, this allows flexible simulations of sub-canopy light condition and the simulation of various sensors such as virtual hemispherical images or waveform LiDAR on a virtual forest plot. However, the direct use of LiDAR data in RTMs shows some limitations in the handling of noise, the derivation of surface areas per LiDAR point and the discrimination of solid and porous canopy elements. In order to address these issues, a strategy upgrading tLiDAR and Digital Hemispherical Photographs (DHP) into plausible 3D architectural canopy models is suggested. The presented reconstruction workflow creates an almost unbiased virtual 3D representation of branch and leaf surface distributions, minimizing systematic errors due to the object–sensor relationship. The models are calibrated and validated using DHPs. Using the 3D models for simulations, their capabilities for the description of leaf density distributions and the simulation of aLiDAR and DHP signatures are shown. At an experimental test site, the suitability of the models, in order to systematically simulate and evaluate aLiDAR based LAI predictions under various scan settings is proven. This strategy makes it possible to show the importance of laser point sampling density, but also the diversity of scan angles and their quantitative effect onto error margins. View Full-Text
Keywords: architectural tree models; radiative transfer modelling; leaf area index; vertical canopy cover; angular canopy closure; laser penetration metrics architectural tree models; radiative transfer modelling; leaf area index; vertical canopy cover; angular canopy closure; laser penetration metrics
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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

Bremer, M.; Wichmann, V.; Rutzinger, M. Calibration and Validation of a Detailed Architectural Canopy Model Reconstruction for the Simulation of Synthetic Hemispherical Images and Airborne LiDAR Data. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 220.

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