Topic: Scanning and Exploring a Rainforest in Full Waveform LiDAR
Presenter : Martin Isenburg
The three year long PulseWaves project is an effort to create an open specification, an open format, and an open source application programming interface (API) for storing full waveform LiDAR. This format primary role is to be a common data exchange format that allows researchers to experiment and commercial software to process full waveform LiDAR without struggling with a smorgasbord of proprietary formats. It was developed in an open, transparent, and vendor-neutral process since December 2011 through active involvement of the community via the discussion forum at http://pulsewaves.org. The specification together with the C++ source code that implements an API and a DLL are LGPL-licensed and available for download. The format offers (optional) compression and has been integrated into RIEGL\’s commercial RiPROCESS software as a new option for exporting full waveform LiDAR.
We describe a full waveform LiDAR scan we have carried out above the primary rainforest of Khao Yai National Park to motivate the utility of this standard and the advantages such data can offer. Our scanner recorded the entire interaction between the laser pulse and all vegetation layers down to the ground for a rainforest containing trees up to 45 meters tall. We give insights how full waveform LiDAR may offers advantages over discrete return LiDAR, which often do not deliver many ground points in tropical forests. In particular, it should be possible to extract those faint waveform peaks usually not recorded and extract additional details about the topology of the terrain that is often missing from traditional LiDAR surveys.