Topography and Vegetation Characterization using Dual-Wavelength Airborne Lidar

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Brian Bradford, Lori A Magruder and Amy L Neuenschwander, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States
Monitoring Earth surface dynamics at an ever increasing resolution has helped to support the characterization of local topography, including vegetated and urban environments. Airborne remote sensing using light detection and ranging (LIDAR) is naturally suited to characterize vegetation and landscapes as it provides detailed three-dimensional spatial data with multiple elevation recordings for each laser pulse. The full waveform LIDAR receiver is unique in this aspect as it can capture and record the complete temporal history of the reflected signal, which contains detailed information about the structure of the objects and ground surfaces illuminated by the beam. This study examines the utility of co-collected, dual-wavelength, full waveform LIDAR data to characterize vegetation and landscapes through the extraction of waveform features, including total waveform energy, canopy energy distribution, and foliage penetration metrics. Assessments are performed using data collected in May 2014 over Monterey, CA, including the Naval Postgraduate School campus area as well as the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve situated on the Monterey coast. The surveys were performed with the Chiroptera dual-laser LIDAR mapping system from Airborne Hydrography AB (AHAB), which can collect both green (515nm) and near infrared (1064nm) waveforms simultaneously. Making use of the dual waveforms allows for detailed characterization of the vegetation and landscape not previously possible with airborne LIDAR.