The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XL-7/W3
Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XL-7/W3, 425–431, 2015
Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XL-7/W3, 425–431, 2015

  29 Apr 2015

29 Apr 2015

Comparison of interferometric and stereo-radargrammetric 3D metrics in mapping of forest resources

K. Karila1, M. Karjalainen1, X. Yu1, M. Vastaranta2, M. Holopainen2, and J. Hyyppä1 K. Karila et al.
  • 1FGI, Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry, 02430 Masala, Finland
  • 2University of Helsinki, Finland

Keywords: Interferometry, Stereo, Radargrammetry, Forest, TanDEM-X, TerraSAR-X, Airborne Laser Scanning

Abstract. Accurate forest resources maps are needed in diverse applications ranging from the local forest management to the global climate change research. In particular, it is important to have tools to map changes in forest resources, which helps us to understand the significance of the forest biomass changes in the global carbon cycle. In the task of mapping changes in forest resources for wide areas, Earth Observing satellites could play the key role. In 2013, an EU/FP7-Space funded project “Advanced_SAR” was started with the main objective to develop novel forest resources mapping methods based on the fusion of satellite based 3D measurements and in-situ field measurements of forests. During the summer 2014, an extensive field surveying campaign was carried out in the Evo test site, Southern Finland. Forest inventory attributes of mean tree height, basal area, mean stem diameter, stem volume, and biomass, were determined for 91 test plots having the size of 32 by 32 meters (1024 m2). Simultaneously, a comprehensive set of satellite and airborne data was collected. Satellite data also included a set of TanDEM-X (TDX) and TerraSAR-X (TSX) X-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images, suitable for interferometric and stereo-radargrammetric processing to extract 3D elevation data representing the forest canopy. In the present study, we compared the accuracy of TDX InSAR and TSX stereo-radargrammetric derived 3D metrics in forest inventory attribute prediction. First, 3D data were extracted from TDX and TSX images. Then, 3D data were processed as elevations above the ground surface (forest canopy height values) using an accurate Digital Terrain Model (DTM) based on airborne laser scanning survey. Finally, 3D metrics were calculated from the canopy height values for each test plot and the 3D metrics were compared with the field reference data. The Random Forest method was used in the forest inventory attributes prediction. Based on the results InSAR showed slightly better performance in forest attribute (i.e. mean tree height, basal area, mean stem diameter, stem volume, and biomass) prediction than stereo-radargrammetry. The results were 20.1% and 28.6% in relative root mean square error (RMSE) for biomass prediction, for TDX and TSX respectively.