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Microtopography Measurement Using Terrestrial LiDAR and Low-Altitude Drone Photogrammetry: Methodology Considerations for the Third Decimal Place

Authors: Nathan McKinney*, University of Tennessee, Yingkui Li, University of Tennessee, Daniel Yoder, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture
Topics: Remote Sensing, Geomorphology, Drones
Keywords: LiDAR, terrestrial laser scanning, UAS, drones, hillslope erosion, field methods
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Among the advances in remote sensing technologies of the past decade has been a rapid improvement in the spatial and temporal resolutions that readily available systems are capable of capturing. The emergence of Terrestrial LiDAR Scanning (TLS) and low-cost Unmanned Airborne Systems (UAS), or drone technology, has enabled researchers to detect vastly smaller objects at a rapidly decreased repeat interval for a cost that is relatively attainable. This poster details the application of TLS and low-flying consumer UAS to identifying centimeter-scale surface features and quantifying topographic change at previously impractical spatial and temporal scales. The main site of this study is a series of bare-soil hillslope plots configured to trap and measure eroded sediments allowing a comparison of measured soil loss to the change in TLS and UAS derived topographic surface models. The high-resolution technologies applied to this study have raised questions about the applicability of existing data acquisition and processing methods. We discuss a series of these issues and our experiences with various data processing tools in developing and implementing this hillslope erosion study.

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