Accession Number:



Estimation of 2D Clutter Maps in Complex Under-Canopy Environments from Airborne Discrete-Return Lidar

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

ERDC Geospatial Research Laboratory Alexandria United States

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Detection of near-ground objects occluded by above-ground vegetation from airborne lidar measurements remains challenging. Our hypothesis is that the probability of obstruction due to objects above ground at any location in the forest environment can be reasonably characterized solely from airborne lidar data. The essence of our approach is to develop a data-driven learning scheme that creates high-resolution 2D probability maps for obstruction in the under-canopy environment. These maps contain information about the probabilities of obstruction clutter map and lidar undersampling uncertainty map in the near-ground space. Airborne and terrestrial lidar data and field survey data collected within the forested, mountainous environment of Shenandoah National Park, Virginia USA are utilized to test and evaluate the proposed approach in this work. A newly developed individual tree detection algorithm is implemented to estimate undersampled stem contributions to the probability of obstruction. Results show the effectiveness of the tree detection algorithm with an accuracy index of between 61.5 percent and 80.7 percent tested using field surveys. The estimated clutter maps are compared to the maps created from terrestrial scans i.e., ground truth and the results show the root-mean-square error of 0.28, 0.32, and 0.34 at three study sites. The overall framework in deriving near-ground clutter and uncertainty maps from airborne lidar data would be useful information for prediction of line-of-sight visibility, mobility and above-ground forest biomass.

Subject Categories:

  • Forestry
  • Optical Detection and Detectors

Distribution Statement: