AdaptLidarTools: A Full-Waveform Lidar Processing Suite

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Conference Proceeding

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AdaptLidarTools is a software package that processes full-waveform lidar data. Full-waveform lidar is an active remote sensing technique in which a laser beam is emitted towards a target and the backscattered energy is recorded as a near continuous waveform. A collection of waveforms from airborne lidar can capture landscape characteristics in three dimensions. Specific to vegetation, the extracted echoes and echo properties from the waveforms can provide scientists structural (height, volume, layers of canopy, among others) and functional (leaf area index, diversity) characteristics. The discrete waveforms can be transformed into georeferenced 2D rasters (images), allowing scientists to correlate field-based observations for validation of the waveform observations and fusing the data with other geospatial information. AdaptLidarTools provides an extensible, open-source framework that processes the waveforms and produces multiple data outputs that can be used in vegetation and terrain analysis.

AdaptLidarTools is designed to explore new methods to fit full-waveform lidar signals and to maximize the information in the waveforms for vegetation applications. The toolkit explores first differencing, complementary to Gaussian fitting, for faster processing of full-waveform lidar signals and for handling increasingly large volumes of full-waveform lidar datasets. AdaptLidarTools takes approximately 30 min to derive a raster of a given echo property from a raw waveform file of 1 GB size. The toolkit generates first order echo properties such as position, amplitude, pulse width, and other properties such as rise time, fall time and backscattered cross section. It also generates other properties that current proprietary and open-source tools do not. The derived echo properties are delivered as georeferenced raster files of a given spatial resolution that can be viewed and processed by most remote sensing data processing software.