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Open AccessArticle

Mapping Topography Changes and Elevation Accuracies Using a Mobile Laser Scanner

School of Science and Technology, Aalto University, FI-00076 Aalto, Finland
Department of Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry, Finnish Geodetic Institute, FI-02431 Masala, Finland
Department of Geography and Geology, University of Turku, FI-20014 Turku, Finland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2011, 3(3), 587-600;
Received: 10 February 2011 / Revised: 7 March 2011 / Accepted: 8 March 2011 / Published: 17 March 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Terrestrial Laser Scanning)
PDF [785 KB, uploaded 19 June 2014]


Laser measurements have been used in a fluvial context since 1984, but the change detection possibilities of mobile laser scanning (MLS) for riverine topography have been lacking. This paper demonstrates the capability of MLS in erosion change mapping on a test site located in a 58 km-long tributary of the River Tenojoki (Tana) in the sub-arctic. We used point bars and river banks as example cases, which were measured with the mobile laser scanner ROAMER mounted on a boat and on a cart. Static terrestrial laser scanner data were used as reference and we exploited a difference elevation model technique for describing erosion and deposition areas. The measurements were based on data acquisitions during the late summer in 2008 and 2009. The coefficient of determination (R2) of 0.93 and a standard deviation of error 3.4 cm were obtained as metrics for change mapping based on MLS. The root mean square error (RMSE) of MLS‑based digital elevation models (DEM) for non-vegetated point bars ranged between 2.3 and 7.6 cm after correction of the systematic error. For densely vegetated bank areas, the ground point determination was more difficult resulting in an RMSE between 15.7 and 28.4 cm. View Full-Text
Keywords: mobile laser scanning; topography; change mapping; erosion; DEM; filtering mobile laser scanning; topography; change mapping; erosion; DEM; filtering

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Vaaja, M.; Hyyppä, J.; Kukko, A.; Kaartinen, H.; Hyyppä, H.; Alho, P. Mapping Topography Changes and Elevation Accuracies Using a Mobile Laser Scanner. Remote Sens. 2011, 3, 587-600.

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