Processing full-waveform lidar data in an alpine coniferous forest: assessing terrain and tree height quality

Abstract : Small footprint full-waveform airborne lidar systems hold large opportunities for improved forest characterisation. To take advantage of full-waveform information, this paper presents a new processing method based on the decomposition of waveforms into a sum of parametric functions. The method consists of an enhanced peak detection algorithm combined with an advanced echo modelling including Gaussian and generalized Gaussian models. The study focussed on the qualication of the extracted geometric information. Resulting 3D point clouds were compared to the point cloud provided by the operator. 40 to 60 % additional points were detected mainly in the lower part of the canopy and in the low vegetation. Their contribution to Digital Terrain Models (DTMs), Canopy Height Models (CHMs) was then analysed. The quality of DTMs and CHM-based heights was assessed using eld measurements on black pine plots under various topographic and stand characteristics. Results showed only slight improvements, up to 5 cm bias and standard deviation reduction. However both tree crowns and undergrowth were more densely sampled thanks to the detection of weak and overlapping echoes, opening up opportunities to study the detailed structure of forest stands.
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Adrien Chauve, Cédric Vega, Sylvie Durrieu, Frédéric Bretar, Tristan Allouis, et al.. Processing full-waveform lidar data in an alpine coniferous forest: assessing terrain and tree height quality. International Journal of Remote Sensing, Taylor & Francis, 2009, 30 (19), pp.5211-5228. ⟨10.1080/01431160903023009⟩. ⟨lirmm-00415780⟩

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