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Three-dimensional surface reconstruction of tree canopy from lidar point clouds using a region-based level set method

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In this article, a novel method is proposed for three-dimensional (3D) canopy surface reconstruction of trees using a region-based level set method. Both individual tree crowns and clusters of trees are first marked for further exploration. Multiple horizontal slices corresponding to different heights are obtained. The 3D structure of tree canopy is built using raw data from lidar point clouds. Also, new applications are proposed based on the new method for 3D forest reconstruction. The biomass parameters of the forest, including tree intersection area, tree equivalent crown radius, and canopy volume, can be calculated from stacking 2D slices of trees. Tree types are also identified and classified. The results indicate that this approach is effective for 3D surface reconstruction of forests including individual trees and clusters of trees, and that critical forest parameters (such as tree intersection area, tree position, and canopy volume) can be derived for the evaluation and measurement of biophysical parameters of forests.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Computer Science and Engineering,University of North Texas, Denton,TX,76203, USA 2: Department of Geography,University of North Texas, Denton,TX,76203, USA

Publication date: February 20, 2013

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