Perspective of Using Airborne Laser Scanning Sets for Vegetation Mapping
Nowadays the multispectral satellite imagery is the main source of remote sensing data for scientific researches of forests. Digital airborne surveys are mainly used only for forest inventory. The LIDAR (airborne laser scanning) method is not used widely for these purposes, though it was being used during last 15-18 years in GIS industry and is still improving rapidly. The main reason of this situation is the price, different methodology, and insufficient awareness of the researchers about this method. During last years the development of technologies and new hardware solutions increased the surveying a lot. Now high-end LIDAR solutions are very close to professional big format aerial cameras in terms of productivity and area surveyed per hour. The price of LIDAR data also decreased and is comparable with the price of satellite imagery data. Laser point clouds data, mixed with airborne mid-size camera imagery allows us to extract some information about the vegetation that can’t be obtained using any other method (information about relative height of trees or relief under the canopies). New methods and analysis techniques must be developed for correct use of this information. In 2012–2013 similar researches were done on behalf of RosLesInforg, focusing on the improvement of the methodology of forest inventory using the LIDAR data. Taking into account the precision and productivity of new hardware and potential additional sensors, the additional researches are needed for implementation of LIDAR methods into the scientific and industrial tasks.