COMPARISON OF DISCRETE RETURN AND WAVEFORM TERRESTRIAL LASER SCANNING FOR DENSE VEGETATION FILTERING
Keywords: Terrestrial Laser Scanner, DTM, full-waveform, analysis, vegetation filtering, multi-target capability
Abstract. In this paper we present the results of the comparison between two terrestrial laser scanners (TLS), a discrete return system (Riegl LMS-Z620) and an echo-digitizing system (Riegl VZ-400), employed for the survey of a dense forested area, in the italian Alps. The site is actually undergoing a strong debate among the inhabitants and local government authorities about the exploitation of the area as a huge quarry to produce building material. The dispute originates from the uncertainty about the instability of the underlying mountain slope, which was interested in 1966 by a landslide. The whole area was surveyed with the two laser scanners on February 2011 during the vegetation dormant period. A slight different processing workflow was applied to the collected datasets: the VZ-400 scans were pre-filtered by exploiting the "calibrated relative reflectance" readings and the multi-target capability provided by this laser scanning system. Next, two different spatial filters were applied to both the resulting georeferenced 3D models, in order to eliminate as much vegetation as possible: iterative filter and a custom morphological filter, developed by the authors. Achieved results show that for both datasets, the iterative and the morphological filters perform quite well for eliminating the vegetation, though some manual editing is still required since vegetation does not feature a prevalent growing direction. Furthermore, the comparison between the number of points left in the final DTMs shows that the VZ-400 provided a one order of magnitude denser point cloud wrt. the LMS-Z620. This demonstrates that a TLS with multi-target capability can potentially provide a more detailed DTM even in presence of dense vegetation.