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Open AccessArticle

A Concave Hull Methodology for Calculating the Crown Volume of Individual Trees Based on Vehicle-Borne LiDAR Data

by Zhaojin Yan 1,2,3, Rufei Liu 4,*, Liang Cheng 1,2,3,5, Xiao Zhou 1,3, Xiaoguang Ruan 1,3 and Yijia Xiao 1,3
1
Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science and Technology, Nanjing University, 163 Xianlin Road, Nanjing 210023, China
2
Collaborative Innovation Center for the South Sea Studies, Nanjing University, 163 Xianlin Road, Nanjing 210023, China
3
School of Geography and Ocean Science, Nanjing University, 163 Xianlin Road, Nanjing 210023, China
4
College of Geomatics, Shandong University of Science and Technology, 579 Qianwan Port Road, Qingdao 266590, China
5
Collaborative Innovation Center of Novel Software Technology and Industrialization, 163 Xianlin Road, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(6), 623; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11060623
Received: 31 January 2019 / Revised: 2 March 2019 / Accepted: 12 March 2019 / Published: 14 March 2019
Crown volume is an important tree factor used in forest surveys as a prerequisite for estimating biomass and carbon stocks. This study developed a method for accurately calculating the crown volume of individual trees from vehicle-borne laser scanning (VLS) data using a concave hull by slices method. CloudCompare, an open-source three-dimensional (3D) point cloud and mesh processing software package, was used with VLS data to segment individual trees from which single tree crowns were extracted by identifying the first branch point of the tree. The slice thickness and number to be fitted to the canopy point cloud were adaptively determined based on the change rate in area with height, with the area of each slice calculated using the concave hull algorithm with portions of the crown regarded as truncated cones. The overall volume was then calculated as the sum of all sub-volumes. The proposed method was experimentally validated on 30 urban trees by comparing the crown volumes calculated using the proposed method with those calculated using five existing methods (manual measurement, 3D convex hull, 3D alpha shape, convex hull by slices, and voxel-based). The proposed method produced the smallest average crown volume. Gaps and holes in the point cloud were regarded as part of the crown by the manual measurement, 3D convex hull, and convex hull by slices method, resulting in the calculated volume being higher than the true value; the proposed method reduced this effect. These results indicate that the concave hull by slices method can more effectively calculate the crown volume of a single tree from VLS data. View Full-Text
Keywords: vehicle-borne laser scanning; LiDAR data; crown volume; concave hull; adaptive slicing vehicle-borne laser scanning; LiDAR data; crown volume; concave hull; adaptive slicing
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MDPI and ACS Style

Yan, Z.; Liu, R.; Cheng, L.; Zhou, X.; Ruan, X.; Xiao, Y. A Concave Hull Methodology for Calculating the Crown Volume of Individual Trees Based on Vehicle-Borne LiDAR Data. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 623.

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