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Evaluation of Uncrewed Aircraft Systems’ Lidar Data Quality

School of Civil and Construction Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
School of Forest Engineering, Resources and Management, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
Shannon & Wilson, Seattle, WA 98103, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8(12), 532;
Received: 17 October 2019 / Revised: 19 November 2019 / Accepted: 24 November 2019 / Published: 27 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geospatial Monitoring with Hyperspatial Point Clouds)
Uncrewed aircraft systems (UASs) with integrated light detection and ranging (lidar) technology are becoming an increasingly popular and efficient remote sensing method for mapping. Due to its quick deployment and comparatively inexpensive cost, uncrewed laser scanning (ULS) can be a desirable solution to conduct topographic surveys for areas sized on the order of square kilometers compared to the more prevalent and mature method of airborne laser scanning (ALS) used to map larger areas. This paper rigorously assesses the accuracy and quality of a ULS system with comparisons to terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) data, total station (TS) measurements, and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) check points. Both the TLS and TS technologies are ideal for this assessment due to their high accuracy and precision. Data for this analysis were collected over a period of two days to map a landslide complex in Mulino, Oregon. Results show that the digital elevation model (DEM) produced from the ULS had overall vertical accuracies of approximately 6 and 13 cm at 95% confidence when compared to the TS cross-sections for the road surface only and road and vegetated surfaces, respectively. When compared to the TLS data, overall biases of −2.4, 1.1, and −2.7 cm were observed in X, Y, and Z with a 3D RMS difference of 8.8 cm. Additional qualitative and quantitative assessments discussed in this paper show that ULS can provide highly accurate topographic data, which can be used for a wide variety of applications. However, further research could improve the overall accuracy and efficiency of the cloud-to-cloud swath adjustment and calibration processes for georeferencing the ULS point cloud. View Full-Text
Keywords: UAS; ULS; lidar; digital elevation model; change detection UAS; ULS; lidar; digital elevation model; change detection
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Babbel, B.J.; Olsen, M.J.; Che, E.; Leshchinsky, B.A.; Simpson, C.; Dafni, J. Evaluation of Uncrewed Aircraft Systems’ Lidar Data Quality. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2019, 8, 532.

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