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Open AccessArticle

Drone Laser Scanning for Modeling Riverscape Topography and Vegetation: Comparison with Traditional Aerial Lidar

1
Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740, USA
2
Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24060, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Drones 2019, 3(2), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones3020035
Received: 8 March 2019 / Revised: 9 April 2019 / Accepted: 10 April 2019 / Published: 12 April 2019
Lidar remote sensing has been used to survey stream channel and floodplain topography for decades. However, traditional platforms, such as aerial laser scanning (ALS) from an airplane, have limitations including flight altitude and scan angle that prevent the scanner from collecting a complete survey of the riverscape. Drone laser scanning (DLS) or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-based lidar offer ways to scan riverscapes with many potential advantages over ALS. We compared point clouds and lidar data products generated with both DLS and ALS for a small gravel-bed stream, Stroubles Creek, located in Blacksburg, VA. Lidar data points were classified as ground and vegetation, and then rasterized to produce digital terrain models (DTMs) representing the topography and canopy height models (CHMs) representing the vegetation. The results highlighted that the lower-altitude, higher-resolution DLS data were more capable than ALS of providing details of the channel profile as well as detecting small vegetation on the floodplain. The greater detail gained with DLS will provide fluvial researchers with better estimates of the physical properties of riverscape topography and vegetation. View Full-Text
Keywords: UAVs; lidar; streams; floodplains; topography; vegetation; stream restoration; roughness UAVs; lidar; streams; floodplains; topography; vegetation; stream restoration; roughness
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MDPI and ACS Style

Resop, J.P.; Lehmann, L.; Hession, W.C. Drone Laser Scanning for Modeling Riverscape Topography and Vegetation: Comparison with Traditional Aerial Lidar. Drones 2019, 3, 35.

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