The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XLI-B3
09 Jun 2016
 | 09 Jun 2016


Leena Matikainen, Juha Hyyppä, and Paula Litkey

Keywords: Laser scanning, Lidar, Multispectral, Point cloud, Mapping, Automation, Updating, Change detection

Abstract. During the last 20 years, airborne laser scanning (ALS), often combined with multispectral information from aerial images, has shown its high feasibility for automated mapping processes. Recently, the first multispectral airborne laser scanners have been launched, and multispectral information is for the first time directly available for 3D ALS point clouds. This article discusses the potential of this new single-sensor technology in map updating, especially in automated object detection and change detection. For our study, Optech Titan multispectral ALS data over a suburban area in Finland were acquired. Results from a random forests analysis suggest that the multispectral intensity information is useful for land cover classification, also when considering ground surface objects and classes, such as roads. An out-of-bag estimate for classification error was about 3% for separating classes asphalt, gravel, rocky areas and low vegetation from each other. For buildings and trees, it was under 1%. According to feature importance analyses, multispectral features based on several channels were more useful that those based on one channel. Automatic change detection utilizing the new multispectral ALS data, an old digital surface model (DSM) and old building vectors was also demonstrated. Overall, our first analyses suggest that the new data are very promising for further increasing the automation level in mapping. The multispectral ALS technology is independent of external illumination conditions, and intensity images produced from the data do not include shadows. These are significant advantages when the development of automated classification and change detection procedures is considered.