High-voltage power lines can be quite easily mapped using laser scanning data, because vegetation close to high-voltage lines is typically removed and also because the power lines are located higher off the ground in contrast to regional networks and lower voltage networks. On the contrary, lower voltage power lines are located in the middle of dense forests, and it is difficult to classify power lines in such an environment. This paper proposes an automated power line detection method for forest environments. Our method was developed based on statistical analysis and 2D image-based processing technology. During the process of statistical analysis, a set of criteria (e.g., height criteria, density criteria and histogram thresholds) is applied for selecting the candidates for power lines. After transforming the candidates to a binary image, image-based processing technology is employed. Object geometric properties are considered as criteria for power line detection. This method was conducted in six sets of airborne laser scanning (ALS) data from different forest environments. By comparison with reference data, 93.26% of power line points were correctly classified. The advantages and disadvantages of the methods were analyzed and discussed.
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