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Use of airborne laser scanner data in demanding forest conditions

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dc.contributor.author Maguya, Almasi S.
dc.date.accessioned 2016-03-16T04:21:49Z
dc.date.available 2016-03-16T04:21:49Z
dc.date.issued 2015
dc.identifier.isbn 978-952-265-903-3
dc.identifier.issn 1456-4491
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11192/901
dc.description Thesis for the degree of Doctor of Science (Technology) to be presented with due permission for public examination and criticism in Auditorium 1382 at Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lappeenranta, Finland on the 21st of December, 2015, at 12:00 p.m. en_US
dc.description.abstract Most of the applications of airborne laser scanner data to forestry require that the point cloud be normalized, i.e., each point represents height from the ground instead of elevation. To normalize the point cloud, a digital terrain model (DTM), which is derived from the ground returns in the point cloud, is employed. Unfortunately, extracting accurate DTMs from airborne laser scanner data is a challenging task, especially in tropical forests where the canopy is normally very thick (partially closed), leading to a situation in which only a limited number of laser pulses reach the ground. Therefore, robust algorithms for extracting accurate DTMs in low-ground-point-densitysituations are needed in order to realize the full potential of airborne laser scanner data to forestry. The objective of this thesis is to develop algorithms for processing airborne laser scanner data in order to: (1) extract DTMs in demanding forest conditions (complex terrain and low number of ground points) for applications in forestry; (2) estimate canopy base height (CBH) for forest fire behavior modeling; and (3) assess the robustness of LiDAR-based high-resolution biomass estimation models against different field plot designs. Here, the aim is to find out if field plot data gathered by professional foresters can be combined with field plot data gathered by professionally trained community foresters and used in LiDAR-based high-resolution biomass estimation modeling without affecting prediction performance. The question of interest in this case is whether or not the local forest communities can achieve the level technical proficiency required for accurate forest monitoring. The algorithms for extracting DTMs from LiDAR point clouds presented in this thesis address the challenges of extracting DTMs in low-ground-point situations and in complex terrain while the algorithm for CBH estimation addresses the challenge of variations in the distribution of points in the LiDAR point cloud caused by things like variations in tree species and season of data acquisition. These algorithms are adaptive (with respect to point cloud characteristics) and exhibit a high degree of tolerance to variations in the density and distribution of points in the LiDAR point cloud. Results of comparison with existing DTM extraction algorithms showed that DTM extraction algorithms proposed in this thesis performed better with respect to accuracy of estimating tree heights from airborne laser scanner data. On the other hand, the proposed DTM extraction algorithms, being mostly based on trend surface interpolation, can not retain small artifacts in the terrain (e.g., bumps, small hills and depressions). Therefore, the DTMs generated by these algorithms are only suitable for forestry applications where the primary objective is to estimate tree heights from normalized airborne laser scanner data. On the other hand, the algorithm for estimating CBH proposed in this thesis is based on the idea of moving voxel in which gaps (openings in the canopy) which act as fuel breaks are located and their height is estimated. Test results showed a slight improvement in CBH estimation accuracy over existing CBH estimation methods which are based on height percentiles in the airborne laser scanner data. However, being based on the idea of moving voxel, this algorithm has one main advantage over existing CBH estimation methods in the context of forest fire modeling: it has great potential in providing information about vertical fuel continuity. This information can be used to create vertical fuel continuity maps which can provide more realistic information on the risk of crown fires compared to CBH. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher Lappeenranta University of Technology en_US
dc.subject Digital terrain model en_US
dc.subject LiDAR en_US
dc.subject forest inventory en_US
dc.subject remote sensing en_US
dc.subject forest fire en_US
dc.subject canopy base height en_US
dc.subject ground filtering en_US
dc.subject airborne laser scanning en_US
dc.title Use of airborne laser scanner data in demanding forest conditions en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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