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Extracting individual trees from lidar point clouds using treeseg

Burt, A; Disney, M; Calders, K; (2018) Extracting individual trees from lidar point clouds using treeseg. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 10.1111/2041-210X.13121. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Recent studies have demonstrated the potential of lidar-derived methods in plant ecology and forestry. One limitation to these methods is accessing the information content of point clouds, from which tree-scale metrics can be retrieved. This is currently undertaken through laborious and time-consuming manual segmentation of tree-level point clouds from larger-area point clouds, an effort that is impracticable across thousands of stems. 2. Here, we present treeseg, an open-source software to automate this task. This method utilises generic point cloud processing techniques including Euclidean clustering, principal component analysis, region-based segmentation, shape fitting and connectivity testing. This data-driven approach uses few a priori assumptions of tree architecture, and transferability across lidar instruments is constrained only by data quality requirements. 3. We demonstrate the treeseg algorithm here on data acquired from both a structurally simple open forest and a complex tropical forest. Across these data, we successfully automatically extract 96% and 70% of trees, respectively, with the remainder requiring some straightforward manual segmentation. 4. treeseg allows ready and quick access to tree-scale information contained in lidar point clouds. treeseg should help contribute to more wide-scale uptake of lidarderived methods to applications ranging from the estimation of carbon stocks through to descriptions of plant form and function.

Type: Article
Title: Extracting individual trees from lidar point clouds using treeseg
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.13121
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13121
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Methods in Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Ecological Society This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: extraction, forests, laser scanning, lidar, point cloud, segmentation, trees
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10065105
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