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Assessment of terrestrial laser scanning technology for obtaining high-resolution DEMs of soils

Authors


R. J. Barneveld, Wageningen University - Soil Physics, Ecohydrology and Groundwater Management Group, P.O. Box 47, Wageningen 6700 AA, Netherlands. E-mail: robert.barneveld@wur.nl; rjbarneveld@yahoo.co.uk

ABSTRACT

Terrestrial Laser Scanners (TLS) provide a non-contact method to measure soil microtopography of relatively large surface areas. The appropriateness of the technology in relatation to the derived Digital Elevation Models (DEM) however has not been reported. The suitability of TLS for soil microtopography measurements was tested on-field for three large soil surface areas in agricultural fields. The acquired point clouds were filtered with a custom cloud import algorithm, and converted into digital elevation models (DEM) of different resolutions. To assess DEM quality, point clouds measured from different viewpoints were statistically compared. The statistical fit between point clouds from different viewpoints depends on spatial resolution of the DEM. The best results were obtained at the higher resolutions (0.02 to 0.04 cm), where less than 5 % of the grid cells showed significant differences between one viewpoint and the next (p < 0.01). Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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