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Impact of Beam Diameter and Scanning Approach on Point Cloud Quality of Terrestrial Laser Scanning in Forests


Abegg, Meinrad; Boesch, Ruedi; Schaepman, Michael E; Morsdorf, Felix (2021). Impact of Beam Diameter and Scanning Approach on Point Cloud Quality of Terrestrial Laser Scanning in Forests. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 59(10):8153-8167.

Abstract

In recent years, portable laser scanning devices and their applications in the context of forest mensuration have undergone rapid methodological and technological developments. Devices have become smaller, lighter, and more affordable, whereas new data-driven methods and software packages have facilitated the derivation of information from point clouds. Thus, terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) is now well established, and laser–object interactions have been studied using theoretical, modeling, and experimental approaches. The representation of scanned objects in terms of accuracy and completeness is a key factor for successful feature extraction. Still, little is known about the influence of TLS and survey properties on point clouds in complex scattering environments, such as forests. In this study, we investigate the influence of laser beam diameter and signal triggering on the quality of point clouds in forested environments. Based on the Swiss National Forest Inventory data, we simulate the TLS measurements in 684 virtual forest stands using a 3-D content creation suite. We show that small objects lack sufficient representation in the point cloud and they are further negatively influenced by large laser beam diameters, dense stands, and large distances from the scanning device. We provide simulations that make it possible to derive a rationale for decisions regarding the appropriate choice of TLS device and survey configuration for forest inventories.

Abstract

In recent years, portable laser scanning devices and their applications in the context of forest mensuration have undergone rapid methodological and technological developments. Devices have become smaller, lighter, and more affordable, whereas new data-driven methods and software packages have facilitated the derivation of information from point clouds. Thus, terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) is now well established, and laser–object interactions have been studied using theoretical, modeling, and experimental approaches. The representation of scanned objects in terms of accuracy and completeness is a key factor for successful feature extraction. Still, little is known about the influence of TLS and survey properties on point clouds in complex scattering environments, such as forests. In this study, we investigate the influence of laser beam diameter and signal triggering on the quality of point clouds in forested environments. Based on the Swiss National Forest Inventory data, we simulate the TLS measurements in 684 virtual forest stands using a 3-D content creation suite. We show that small objects lack sufficient representation in the point cloud and they are further negatively influenced by large laser beam diameters, dense stands, and large distances from the scanning device. We provide simulations that make it possible to derive a rationale for decisions regarding the appropriate choice of TLS device and survey configuration for forest inventories.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
08 Research Priority Programs > Global Change and Biodiversity
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Physical Sciences > General Earth and Planetary Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Earth and Planetary Sciences, Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Language:English
Date:1 October 2021
Deposited On:24 Feb 2022 09:33
Last Modified:27 Jun 2024 01:36
Publisher:Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
ISSN:1558-0644
OA Status:Hybrid
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1109/tgrs.2020.3037763
Project Information:
  • : FunderSwiss National Forest Inventory
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title
  • : FunderUniversity of Zurich’s Research Priority Program on Global Change and Biodiversity
  • : Grant ID
  • : Project Title