Title: Assessing the influence of flight parameters, interferometric processing, slope and canopy density on the accuracy of X-band IFSAR-derived forest canopy height models.
Author: Andersen, H.-E.; McGaughey, R.J.; Reutebuch, S.E.
Source: International Journal of Remote Sensing. 29(5): 1495-1510
Description: High resolution, active remote sensing technologies, such as interferometric synthetic aperture radar (IFSAR) and airborne laser scanning (LIDAR) have the capability to provide forest managers with direct measurements of 3-dimensional forest canopy surface structure. Although LIDAR systems can provide highly accurate measurements of canopy and terrain surfaces, high-resolution (X-band) IFSAR systems provide slightly less accurate measurements of canopy surface elevation over very large areas with a much higher data collection rate, leading to a lower cost per unit area. In addition, canopy height can be measured by taking the difference between the IFSAR-derived canopy surface elevation and a LIDAR-derived terrain surface elevation. Therefore, in areas where high-accuracy terrain models are available, IFSAR may be used to economically monitor changes in forest structure, and height over large areas on a relatively frequent basis. However, IFSAR flight parameters and processing techniques are not currently optimized for the forest canopy mapping application. In order to determine optimal flight parameters for IFSAR forest canopy measurement, we evaluated the accuracy of high-resolution, X-band canopy surface models obtained over a mountainous forested area in central Washington state (USA) from two flying heights (6000 m and 4500 m), from different look directions, and with different interferometric processing. In addition, we assessed the influence of terrain slope and canopy density on the accuracy of IFSAR canopy height models. High-accuracy LIDAR-derived canopy height models were used as a basis for comparison. Results indicate that sensing geometry is the single most important factor influencing the accuracy of IFSAR canopy height measurements, therefore acquiring IFSAR from multiple look directions can be critically important when using IFSAR for forest canopy measurement applications, especially in mountainous areas.
Keywords: IFSAR, LIDAR, forest canopy surface structure, terrain surface elevation
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Andersen, H.-E.; McGaughey, R.J.; Reutebuch, S.E. 2008. Assessing the influence of flight parameters, interferometric processing, slope and canopy density on the accuracy of X-band IFSAR-derived forest canopy height models.. International Journal of Remote Sensing. 29(5): 1495-1510.