Practical Enhancement of Terrestrial Laser Scanning for Fluvial Geomorphology Surveys

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Kyotaek Hwang and David G Chandler, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, United States
Accurate measurement of microtopography plays an important role in fluvial geomorphology. Whereof the surface is obscured by vegetation or landform, airborne remote sensing can be impractical and ground-based surveys using terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) show promise. TLS provides high resolution observations of the land surface for relatively low cost and with simple setup. However, the scanning range is effectively limited to less than 100 m, requiring individual scenes to be merged in software to represent larger landforms. For studies requiring several scenes, an efficient scanning strategy should be established in advance to optimize for time, resolution and spatial coverage. This requires careful consideration of scanner placement to merge scenes. We address problems encountered with blind spots. TLS is generally conducted on a 2-m (or shorter) tripod and the low scanning angle to the land surface at long distance inevitably causes blind spots in rugose or complex terrain. Similarly, the distance between TLS placement points is limited by the ability to resolve matching targets from sequential surveys. Here we present a simple geometry-based scanning plan regardless of the type and range of the instrument, with modification of the survey instrument platform. The half of a minimum range is used to make at least 18% of a superposed area with the next scan. Since scanning height barely affects the scanning range, the tripod was substituted to a 3-m stepladder and the platform of the scanner was modified to level and adjust the device easily with one hand. The results show that the new scanning plan performs well regardless of the topography and figure of the area of interest, with sufficient superposed area for combination with other adjacent scans. The modification of the platform also turned out to be more efficient to secure the observing angle and improve usability. The physical enhancement for TLS will provide valuable opportunity to conduct a standardized and field-oriented work in a practical manner.