The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XXXVIII-4/W25
Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XXXVIII-4/W25, 14–18, 2011
Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XXXVIII-4/W25, 14–18, 2011
30 Aug 2012
30 Aug 2012


R. Boesch and C. Ginzler R. Boesch and C. Ginzler

Keywords: Automation DSM/DTM Lidar National Photogrammetry Resolution Triangulation

Abstract. The application of extended digital surface models often reveals, that despite an acceptable global accuracy for a given dataset, the local accuracy of the model can vary in a wide range. For high resolution applications which cover the spatial extent of a whole country, this can be a major drawback.

Within the Swiss National Forest Inventory (NFI), two digital surface models are available, one derived from LiDAR point data and the other from aerial images. Automatic photogrammetric image matching with ADS80 aerial infrared images with 25cm and 50cm resolution is used to generate a surface model (ADS-DSM) with 1m resolution covering whole switzerland (approx. 41000 km2). The spatially corresponding LiDAR dataset has a global point density of 0.5 points per m2 and is mainly used in applications as interpolated grid with 2m resolution (LiDAR-DSM).

Although both surface models seem to offer a comparable accuracy from a global view, local analysis shows significant differences. Both datasets have been acquired over several years. Concerning LiDAR-DSM, different flight patterns and inconsistent quality control result in a significantly varying point density. The image acquisition of the ADS-DSM is also stretched over several years and the model generation is hampered by clouds, varying illumination and shadow effects.

Nevertheless many classification and feature extraction applications requiring high resolution data depend on the local accuracy of the used surface model, therefore precise knowledge of the local data quality is essential.

The commercial photogrammetric software NGATE (part of SOCET SET) generates the image based surface model (ADS-DSM) and delivers also a map with figures of merit (FOM) of the matching process for each calculated height pixel. The FOM-map contains matching codes like high slope, excessive shift or low correlation.

For the generation of the LiDAR-DSM only first- and last-pulse data was available. Therefore only the point distribution can be used to derive a local accuracy measure.

For the calculation of a robust point distribution measure, a constrained triangulation of local points (within an area of 100m2) has been implemented using the Open Source project CGAL. The area of each triangle is a measure for the spatial distribution of raw points in this local area.

Combining the FOM-map with the local evaluation of LiDAR points allows an appropriate local accuracy evaluation of both surface models.

The currently implemented strategy ("partial replacement") uses the hypothesis, that the ADS-DSM is superior due to its better global accuracy of 1m. If the local analysis of the FOM-map within the 100m2 area shows significant matching errors, the corresponding area of the triangulated LiDAR points is analyzed. If the point density and distribution is sufficient, the LiDAR-DSM will be used in favor of the ADS-DSM at this location. If the local triangulation reflects low point density or the variance of triangle areas exceeds a threshold, the investigated location will be marked as NODATA area.

In a future implementation ("anisotropic fusion") an anisotropic inverse distance weighting (IDW) will be used, which merges both surface models in the point data space by using FOM-map and local triangulation to derive a quality weight for each of the interpolation points. The "partial replacement" implementation and the "fusion" prototype for the anisotropic IDW make use of the Open Source projects CGAL (Computational Geometry Algorithms Library), GDAL (Geospatial Data Abstraction Library) and OpenCV (Open Source Computer Vision).