Mapping Micro-topography in Densely Vegetated Coastal Environments Using Terrestrial LiDAR

Authors: Xukai Zhang*, Louisiana State University, Xuelian Meng, Louisiana State University, Chunyan Li, Louisiana State University
Topics: Remote Sensing, Coastal and Marine, Geomorphology
Keywords: Terrestrial LiDAR, Densely Vegetated Coastal Environments, Micro-Topography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Studio 10, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Coastal Louisiana wetlands play an essential role in providing rich habitats for wildlife. However, the state is experiencing an alarming rate of wetland loss, accounting for approximately 80% of the nation. Timely mapping and assessment of coastal morphological changes before and after wetland restoration are therefore critical. Terrestrial LiDAR, also called terrestrial laser scanner (TLS), is increasingly used to provide highly detailed micro-topography with millimetric precision and accuracy, but it is still complicated to be applied in densely vegetated coastal environments. To verify and improve the application of TLS in the dense-vegetation coastal area, we set up eleven scans of TLS in October 2015 along an earthen berm with vegetation planted, which was constructed in 2014 at the edge of the marsh around Joshua's Marina, in Buras, Louisiana. Seventy-Six profiles were also set up across the berm at the interval of 5 meters, and high-accuracy GNSS data were acquired along each profile at the interval of about half a meter. GNSS data and classification results were integrated with the registered TLS result to improve the morphological mapping. The results of the integration reveal a higher accuracy for mapping micro-topography. The terrain correction method successfully reduced the mean error from 0.385 m to 0.060 m (RMSE errors from 0.411 m to 0.125 m) in low vegetation and from 0.993 m to -0.072 m (RMSE from 1.070 m to 0.131 m) in tall vegetation. Overall, this research validated a feasible solution to apply TLS for mapping micro-topography in densely vegetated environments.

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