Accurate topographic information is critical for a number of applications in science and engineering. In recent years, airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) has become a standard tool for acquiring high quality topographic information. The assessment of airborne LiDAR derived DEMs is typically based on (i) independent ground control points and (ii) forward error propagation utilizing the LiDAR geo-referencing equation. The latter approach is dependent on the stochastic model information of the LiDAR observation components. In this paper, the well-known statistical tool of variance component estimation (VCE) is implemented for a dataset in Houston, Texas, in order to refine the initial stochastic information. Simulations demonstrate the impact of stochastic-model refinement for two practical applications, namely coastal inundation mapping and surface displacement estimation. Results highlight scenarios where erroneous stochastic information is detrimental. Furthermore, the refined stochastic information provides insights on the effect of each LiDAR measurement in the airborne LiDAR error budget. The latter is important for targeting future advancements in order to improve point cloud accuracy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Modeling and Simulation
- Engineering (miscellaneous)
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)