DETERMINING GEOMETRIC PARAMETERS OF AGRICULTURAL TREES FROM LASER SCANNING DATA OBTAINED WITH UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE
Keywords: UAV, LiDAR, orchards, tree height, alpha-shape
Abstract. The estimation of dendrometric parameters has become an important issue for agriculture planning and for the efficient management of orchards. Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) data is widely used in forestry and many algorithms for automatic estimation of dendrometric parameters of individual forest trees were developed. Unfortunately, due to significant differences between forest and fruit trees, some contradictions exist against adopting the achievements of forestry science to agricultural studies indiscriminately.
In this study we present the methodology to identify individual trees in apple orchard and estimate heights of individual trees, using high-density LiDAR data (3200 points/m2) obtained with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) equipped with Velodyne HDL32-E sensor. The processing strategy combines the alpha-shape algorithm, principal component analysis (PCA) and detection of local minima. The alpha-shape algorithm is used to separate tree rows. In order to separate trees in a single row, we detect local minima on the canopy profile and slice polygons from alpha-shape results. We successfully separated 92 % of trees in the test area. 6 % of trees in orchard were not separated from each other and 2 % were sliced into two polygons. The RMSE of tree heights determined from the point clouds compared to field measurements was equal to 0.09 m, and the correlation coefficient was equal to 0.96. The results confirm the usefulness of LiDAR data from UAV platform in orchard inventory.