#14 State and Trends in Airborne LiDAR

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04 Jul 2021

#14 State and Trends in Airborne LiDAR

Due to the tremendous progress in Airborne LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging), new sensors and technologies have emerged in the recent years. Beyond the constant increase of scan rates and progress in full waveform analysis, the following current trends can be identified:

  • Single Photon LiDAR: The introduction of single photon sensitive receivers and the use of receiver arrays enabled higher areal coverage compared to conventional scanners at the price of a higher noise level and outlier rate.
  • UAV LiDAR: Compact and lightweight laser scanners are nowadays mounted on UAV-platforms enabling unprecedented spatial resolution and new applications in archaeology, cultural heritage, forestry, hydrography, geo-morphology, etc.
  • Hybrid sensor systems: Modern airborne sensors comprise both laser scanners and cameras enabling simultaneous¬† acquisition of scans and images. Fusion of point clouds from LiDAR and (dense) image matching is becoming state-of-the art with benefits for classification, true orthophoto production, 3D mesh generation, etc.

The full-day tutorial features a theory and a hands-on part. Overview lectures introduce the theory of the stated technologies for mapping of topography and bathymetry, focussing on Single Photon and Geiger-mode LiDAR, UAV-LiDAR and hybrid sensor systems. This includes comparison of the operating principles of current sensors as well as the integrated orientation of scans and images. In the hands-on part of the tutorial, the participants will process LiDAR data from modern sensors and derive products like DSMs and DTMs, 3D-meshes, water depth maps, etc. using scientific, commercial, and open source software (OPALS, SURE, CloudCompare, etc.).

Specific emphasis lies on filtering of noisy Single Photon point clouds, and feature extraction based on very high-resolution UAV-LiDAR point clouds.