LiDAR-Derived DEM and Raw Height Comparisons along Profile Corridor Gradients within a Forest


We compared field based and airborne LiDAR-derived profile corridor measurements across forest canopy types and terrain ranging from 37% to 49% slope. Both LiDAR-derived DEM and raw LiDAR point elevations were compared to field data. Primary objectives included examining whether canopy type or terrain slope influenced LiDAR-derived profile measurements. A secondary objective included comparing cable logging payloads based on field measured profile elevations to payloads based on LiDAR-derived elevations. Average RMSE elevation errors were slightly lower for profile point to LiDAR DEM values (0.43 m) than profile point to nearest LiDAR elevation point (0.49 m) with differences being larger when sites within forest clearings were removed from analysis. No statistically significant relationship existed between field measured ground slopes and associated profile point and LiDAR DEM elevation differences but a mild correlation existed when LiDAR raw point elevation differences were compared. Our payload analysis determined the limiting payload distance and had consistent results across study sites. The DEM-based profile outperformed the nearest point profile by 5% on average. Results suggest that forest analysts should consider using the nearest LiDAR DEM value rather than the nearest LiDAR point elevation for terrain heights at discrete locations, particularly when forest canopy occludes locations of interest.

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M. Wing, M. Craven, J. Sessions and J. Wimer, "LiDAR-Derived DEM and Raw Height Comparisons along Profile Corridor Gradients within a Forest," Journal of Geographic Information System, Vol. 5 No. 2, 2013, pp. 109-116. doi: 10.4236/jgis.2013.52011.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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