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Automatic estimation of olive tree dendrometric parameters based on airborne laser scanning data using alpha-shape and principal component analysis

Hadas, Edyta, Borkowski, Andrzej, Estornell, Javier, Tymkow, Przemyslaw
GIScience & remote sensing 2017 v.54 no.6 pp. 898-917
Olea europaea, algorithms, correlation, olives, orchards, principal component analysis, remote sensing, trees, Spain
The aim of this study is to present an automatic approach for olive tree dendrometric parameter estimation from airborne laser scanning (ALS) data. The proposed method is based on a unique combination of the alpha-shape algorithm applied to normalized point cloud and principal component analysis. A key issue of the alpha-shape algorithm is to define the α parameter, as it directly affects the crown delineation results. We propose to adjust this parameter based on a group of representative trees in an orchard for which the classical field measurements were performed. The best value of the α parameter is one whose correlation coefficient of dendrometric parameters between field measurements and estimated values is the highest. We determined crown diameters as principal components of ALS points representing a delineated crown. The method was applied to a test area of an olive orchard in Spain. The tree dendrometric parameters estimated from ALS data were compared with field measurements to assess the quality of the developed approach. We found the method to be equally good or even superior to previously investigated semi-automatic methods. The average error is 19% for tree height, 53% for crown base height, and 13% and 9% for the length of the longer diameter and perpendicular diameter, respectively.