UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Evaluation of Ground Surface Models Derived from Unmanned Aerial Systems with Digital Aerial Photogrammetry in a Disturbed Conifer Forest Graham, Alexander; Coops, Nicholas C.; Wilcox, Michael; Plowright, Andrew

Abstract

Detailed vertical forest structure information can be remotely sensed by combining technologies of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and digital aerial photogrammetry (DAP). A key limitation in the application of DAP methods, however, is the inability to produce accurate digital elevation models (DEM) in areas of dense vegetation. This study investigates the terrain modeling potential of UAS-DAP methods within a temperate conifer forest in British Columbia, Canada. UAS-acquired images were photogrammetrically processed to produce high-resolution DAP point clouds. To evaluate the terrain modeling ability of DAP, first, a sensitivity analysis was conducted to estimate optimal parameters of three ground-point classification algorithms designed for airborne laser scanning (ALS). Algorithms tested include progressive triangulated irregular network (TIN) densification (PTD), hierarchical robust interpolation (HRI) and simple progressive morphological filtering (SMRF). Points were classified as ground from the ALS and served as ground-truth data to which UAS-DAP derived DEMs were compared. The proportion of area with root mean square error (RMSE)

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