Analysis of the factors affecting LiDAR DTM accuracy

Autores UPV
Revista International Journal of Digital Earth


The creation of a quality Digital Terrain Model (DTM) is essential for representing and analyzing the Earth in a digital form. The continuous improvements in the acquisition and the potential of airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) data are increasing the range of applications of this technique to the study of the Earth surface. The aim of this study was to determine the optimal parameters for calculating a DTM by using an iterative algorithm to select minimum elevations from LiDAR data in a steep mountain area with shrub vegetation. The parameters were: input data type, analysis window size, and height thresholds. The effects of slope, point density, and vegetation on DTM accuracy were also analyzed. The results showed that the lowest root mean square error (RMSE) was obtained with an analysis window size of 10 m, 5 m, and 2.5 m, rasterized data as input data, and height thresholds equal to or greater than 1.5 m. These parameters showed a RMSE of 0.19 m. When terrain slope varied from 0-10% to 50-60%, the RMSE increased by 0.11 m. The RMSE decreased by 0.06 m when point density was increased from 4 to 8 points/m2, and increased by 0.05 m in dense vegetation areas. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.