Aerial Laser Scanning Data as a Source of Terrain Modeling in a Fluvial Environment: Biasing Factors of Terrain Height Accuracy

Sensors (Basel). 2020 Apr 7;20(7):2063. doi: 10.3390/s20072063.


Airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) scanning is a commonly used technology for representing the topographic terrain. As LiDAR point clouds include all surface features present in the terrain, one of the key elements for generating a digital terrain model (DTM) is the separation of the ground points. In this study, we intended to reveal the efficiency of different denoising approaches and an easy-to-use ground point classification technique in a floodplain with fluvial forms. We analyzed a point cloud from the perspective of the efficiency of noise reduction, parametrizing a ground point classifier (cloth simulation filter, CSF), interpolation methods and resolutions. Noise filtering resulted a wide range of point numbers in the models, and the number of points had moderate correlation with the mean accuracies (r = -0.65, p < 0.05), indicating that greater numbers of points had larger errors. The smallest differences belonged to the neighborhood-based noise filtering and the larger cloth size (5) and the smaller threshold value (0.2). The most accurate model was generated with the natural neighbor interpolation with the cloth size of 5 and the threshold of 0.2. These results can serve as a guide for researchers using point clouds when considering the steps of data preparation, classification, or interpolation in a flat terrain.

Keywords: cloth simulation filter (CSF); floodplain; interpolation; noise filtering.