An open source tool named SimpleTree, capable of modelling highly accurate cylindrical tree models from terrestrial laser scan point clouds, is presented and evaluated. All important functionalities, accessible in the software via buttons and dialogues, are described including the explanation of all necessary input parameters. The method is validated utilizing 101 point clouds of six different tree species, in the main evergreen and coniferous trees. All scanned trees have been destructively harvested to get accurate estimates of above ground biomass with which we assess the accuracy of the SimpleTree-reconstructed cylinder models. The trees were grouped into four data sets and for each one a Concordance Correlation Coefficient of at least 0.92 (0.92, 0.97, 0.92, 0.94) and an total relative error at most ~8 % (2.42%, 3.59%, –4.59%, 8.27%) was achieved in the comparison of the model results to the ground truth data. A global statistical improvement of derived cylinder radii is presented as well as an efficient optimization approach to automatically improve user given input parameters. An additional check of the SimpleTree results is presented via comparison to the results of trees reconstructed using an alternative, published method.
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