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DTM extraction under forest canopy using LiDAR data and a modified invasive weed optimization algorithm

Bigdeli, Behnaz, Amini Amirkolaee, Hamed, Pahlavani, Parham
Remote sensing of environment 2018 v.216 pp. 289-300
algorithms, forest canopy, forest inventory, forests, geometry, hills, invasive species, landscapes, lidar, models, photogrammetry, remote sensing, trees, vegetation cover
The penetration ability of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) pulses into vegetation cover makes it a valuable tool in forest inventory. Extraction of a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) using LiDAR data is a challenging topic, especially in steep and complex terrains with forest canopy. This paper presents some approaches for ground filtering and interpolating the point cloud to generate DTM in forested terrains. Interpolating the points in dense forests that have high attitude variation is very difficult and make the popular interpolation methods unsatisfactory. This paper proposed a modified Invasive Weed Optimization (IWO) method for finding the optimized coefficients of the polynomial interpolation method. This method had a good performance with 0.210 mm RMSE value in the forested terrains. The interpolated point cloud was used as the input of the proposed ground filtering method for detecting the non-ground pixels. The proposed ground filtering method was structured with two main sections including, iterative geodesic morphology and scan labeling. In the iterative geodesic morphology, some geometric and structural parameters were introduced to investigate the quality of extracted points in each iteration. The scan labeling searched the data pixel by pixel in four directions and labeled the pixels with the high slope value in all directions. The non-ground pixels were obtained by integrating the result of iterative geodesic and scan labeling. Assessment of the ground filtering results using the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) showed 3.92% total error compared to the other reported algorithms. This demonstrated the ability of the proposed approach in recognition of the non-ground pixels. The extracted pixels were removed and the DTM was generated by filling the gaps using the proposed IWO and polynomial interpolation. Some forested regions with various characteristics such as sparse and dense trees on the hills and steep slopes were utilized to evaluate the accuracy of the generated DTM. The computed RMSE in the test areas was 0.463 m, on average, which was acceptable for the complex and forested terrains.