Articles | Volume 13, issue 8
26 Aug 2009
 | 26 Aug 2009

Terrain surfaces and 3-D landcover classification from small footprint full-waveform lidar data: application to badlands

F. Bretar, A. Chauve, J.-S. Bailly, C. Mallet, and A. Jacome

Abstract. This article presents the use of new remote sensing data acquired from airborne full-waveform lidar systems for hydrological applications. Indeed, the knowledge of an accurate topography and a landcover classification is a prior knowledge for any hydrological and erosion model. Badlands tend to be the most significant areas of erosion in the world with the highest erosion rate values. Monitoring and predicting erosion within badland mountainous catchments is highly strategic due to the arising downstream consequences and the need for natural hazard mitigation engineering.

Additionally, beyond the elevation information, full-waveform lidar data are processed to extract the amplitude and the width of echoes. They are related to the target reflectance and geometry. We will investigate the relevancy of using lidar-derived Digital Terrain Models (DTMs) and the potentiality of the amplitude and the width information for 3-D landcover classification. Considering the novelty and the complexity of such data, they are presented in details as well as guidelines to process them. The morphological validation of DTMs is then performed via the computation of hydrological indexes and photo-interpretation. Finally, a 3-D landcover classification is performed using a Support Vector Machine classifier. The use of an ortho-rectified optical image in the classification process as well as full-waveform lidar data for hydrological purposes is finally discussed.