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Factors Influencing Pulse Width of Small Footprint, Full Waveform Airborne Laser Scanning Data

Lookup NU author(s): Yu-Ching Lin, Professor Jon MillsORCiD


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Small footprint, full waveform airborne loser scanning provides the opportunity to derive high-resolution geometric and physical information simultaneously from a single scanner system. This study evaluates the influence of various factors on the shape of the returned waveform and investigates the possibility of improving terrain classification by applying waveform-derived information. The factors discussed are surface roughness, slope angle, scan angle, amplitude, and footprint size. It is statistically demonstrated that roughness is the most significant factor affecting pulse width, and that, over relatively smooth surfaces, there is no significant variation in pulse width behavior resulting from different footprint sizes. Pulse width also exhibits a relatively stable behavior when amplitude, range distance, or scan angle vary substantially. The overall accuracy of classification achieved by applying pulse width information over all the different land-cover types examined in this study (including scrub, hillside, single trees, and forest areas) was greater than 85 percent, with >94 percent achieved for open vegetation areas. Physical surface information provided by small footprint waveform data is considered to be at the microscale, therefore it is recommended to combine such information with geometry (e.g., filtering algorithms) for the optimal identification of terrain points.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lin YC, Mills JP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing

Year: 2010

Volume: 76

Issue: 1

Pages: 49-59

Print publication date: 01/01/2010

ISSN (print): 0099-1112

ISSN (electronic):

Publisher: American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing