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This paper presents an evaluation of airborne sensors for use in vegetation management in power-line corridors. Three integral stages in the management process are addressed, including the detection of trees, relative positioning with respect to the nearest power line, and vegetation height estimation. Image data, including multispectral and high resolution, are analyzed along with LiDAR data captured from fixed-wing aircraft. Ground truth data are then used to establish the accuracy and reliability of each sensor, thus providing a quantitative comparison of sensor options. Tree detection was achieved through crown delineation using a pulse-coupled neural network and morphologic reconstruction applied to multispectral imagery. Through testing, it was shown to achieve a detection rate of 96%, while the accuracy in segmenting groups of trees and single trees correctly was shown to be 75%. Relative positioning using LiDAR achieved root-mean-square-error (rmse) values of 1.4 and 2.1 m for cross-track distance and along-track position, respectively, while direct georeferencing achieved rmse of 3.1 m in both instances. The estimation of pole and tree heights measured with LiDAR had rmse values of 0.4 and 0.9 m, respectively, while stereo matching achieved 1.5 and 2.9 m. Overall, a small number of poles were missed with detection rates of 98% and 95% for LiDAR and stereo matching.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:48 , Issue: 9 )
Date of Publication: Sept. 2010