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Open AccessArticle

Uncertainty in Terrestrial Laser Scanner Surveys of Landslides

Department of Civil, Environmental, Chemical and Materials Engineering–Advanced Research Center for Electronic Systems, University of Bologna, Bologna 40136, Italy
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Salerno, Fisciano 84084, Italy
Department of Civil, Environmental, Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Bologna, Bologna 40136, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Zhong Lu and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(2), 113;
Received: 29 October 2016 / Revised: 20 January 2017 / Accepted: 23 January 2017 / Published: 29 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Uncertainties in Remote Sensing)
Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) is a relatively new, versatile, and efficient technology for landslide monitoring. The evaluation of uncertainty of the surveyed data is not trivial because the final accuracy of the point position is unknown. An a priori evaluation of the accuracy of the observed points can be made based on both the footprint size and of the resolution, as well as in terms of effective instantaneous field of view (EIFOV). Such evaluations are surely helpful for a good survey design, but the further operations, such as cloud co-registration, georeferencing and editing, digital elevation model (DEM) creation, and so on, cause uncertainty which is difficult to evaluate. An assessment of the quality of the survey can be made evaluating the goodness of fit between the georeferenced point cloud and the terrain model built using it. In this article, we have considered a typical survey of a landsliding slope. We have presented an a priori quantitative assessment and we eventually analyzed how good the comparison is of the computed point cloud to the actual ground points. We have used the method of cross-validation to eventually suggest the use of a robust parameter for estimating the reliability of the fitting procedure. This statistic can be considered for comparing methods and parameters used to interpolate the DEM. Using kriging allows one to account for the spatial distribution of the data (including the typical anisotropy of the survey of a slope) and to obtain a map of the uncertainties over the height of the grid nodes. This map can be used to compute the estimated error over the DEM-derived quantities, and also represents an “objective” definition of the area of the survey that can be trusted for further use. View Full-Text
Keywords: terrestrial laser scanning; uncertainty quantification; random errors; landslides terrestrial laser scanning; uncertainty quantification; random errors; landslides
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MDPI and ACS Style

Barbarella, M.; Fiani, M.; Lugli, A. Uncertainty in Terrestrial Laser Scanner Surveys of Landslides. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 113.

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