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Limitations of estimating branch volume from terrestrial laser scanning

Morhart, Christopher; Schindler, Zoe; Frey, Julian; Sheppard, Jonathan P; Calders, Kim; Disney, Mathias; Morsdorf, Felix; ... Seifert, Thomas; + view all (2024) Limitations of estimating branch volume from terrestrial laser scanning. European Journal of Forest Research 10.1007/s10342-023-01651-z. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Quantitative structural models (QSMs) are frequently used to simplify single tree point clouds obtained by terrestrial laser scanning (TLS). QSMs use geometric primitives to derive topological and volumetric information about trees. Previous studies have shown a high agreement between TLS and QSM total volume estimates alongside field measured data for whole trees. Although already broadly applied, the uncertainties of the combination of TLS and QSM modelling are still largely unexplored. In our study, we investigated the effect of scanning distance on length and volume estimates of branches when deriving QSMs from TLS data. We scanned ten European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) branches with an average length of 2.6 m. The branches were scanned from distances ranging from 5 to 45 m at step intervals of 5 m from three scan positions each. Twelve close-range scans were performed as a benchmark. For each distance and branch, QSMs were derived. We found that with increasing distance, the point cloud density and the cumulative length of the reconstructed branches decreased, whereas individual volumes increased. Dependent on the QSM hyperparameters, at a scanning distance of 45 m, cumulative branch length was on average underestimated by − 75%, while branch volume was overestimated by up to + 539%. We assume that the high deviations are related to point cloud quality. As the scanning distance increases, the size of the individual laser footprints and the distances between them increase, making it more difficult to fully capture small branches and to adjust suitable QSMs.

Type: Article
Title: Limitations of estimating branch volume from terrestrial laser scanning
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10342-023-01651-z
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10342-023-01651-z
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Remote sensing, LiDAR, TLS, QSM, Above-ground volume, European beech
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/10186050
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