A Robust Gold Deconvolution Approach for LiDAR Waveform Data Processing to Characterize Vegetation Structure

Friday, 19 December 2014
Tan Zhou1, Sorin C Popescu1, Keith Krause2, Ryan Sheridan1 and Nianwei Ku1, (1)Texas A&M University, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, College Station, TX, United States, (2)NEON, Boulder, CO, United States
Increasing attention has been paid in the remote sensing community to the next generation Light Detection and Ranging (lidar) waveform data systems for extracting information on topography and the vertical structure of vegetation. However, processing waveform lidar data raises some challenges compared to analyzing discrete return data. The overall goal of this study was to present a robust de-convolution algorithm- Gold algorithm used to de-convolve waveforms in a lidar dataset acquired within a 60 x 60m study area located in the Harvard Forest in Massachusetts. The waveform lidar data was collected by the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). Specific objectives were to: (1) explore advantages and limitations of various waveform processing techniques to derive topography and canopy height information; (2) develop and implement a novel de-convolution algorithm, the Gold algorithm, to extract elevation and canopy metrics; and (3) compare results and assess accuracy. We modeled lidar waveforms with a mixture of Gaussian functions using the Non-least squares (NLS) algorithm implemented in R and derived a Digital Terrain Model (DTM) and canopy height. We compared our waveform-derived topography and canopy height measurements using the Gold de-convolution algorithm to results using the Richardson-Lucy algorithm. Our findings show that the Gold algorithm performed better than the Richardson-Lucy algorithm in terms of recovering the hidden echoes and detecting false echoes for generating a DTM, which indicates that the Gold algorithm could potentially be applied to processing of waveform lidar data to derive information on terrain elevation and canopy characteristics.