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The effect of short ground vegetation on terrestrial laser scans at a local scale

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>09/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)42-52
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date28/06/14
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) can record a large amount of accurate topographical information with a high spatial accuracy over a relatively short period of time. These features suggest it is a useful tool for topographical survey and surface deformation detection. However, the use of TLS to survey a terrain surface is still challenging in the presence of dense ground vegetation. The bare ground surface may not be illuminated due to signal occlusion caused by vegetation. This paper investigates vegetation-induced elevation error in TLS surveys at a local scale and its spatial pattern. An open, relatively flat area vegetated with dense grass was surveyed repeatedly under several scan conditions. A total station was used to establish an accurate representation of the bare ground surface. Local-highest-point and local-lowest-point filters were applied to the point clouds acquired for deriving vegetation height and vegetation-induced elevation error, respectively. The effects of various factors (for example, vegetation height, edge effects, incidence angle, scan resolution and location) on the error caused by vegetation are discussed. The results are of use in the planning and interpretation of TLS surveys of vegetated areas.