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Research article2018Peer reviewedOpen access

Forest Variable Estimation Using a High Altitude Single Photon Lidar System

Wastlund, Andre; Holmgren, Johan; Lindberg, Eva; Olsson, Hakan


As part of the digitalization of the forest planning process, 3D remote sensing data is an important data source. However, the demand for more detailed information with high temporal resolution and yet still being cost efficient is a challenging combination for the systems used today. A new lidar technology based on single photon counting has the possibility to meet these needs. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the new single photon lidar sensor Leica SPL100 for area-based forest variable estimations. In this study, it was found that data from the new system, operated from 3800 m above ground level, could be used for raster cell estimates with similar or slightly better accuracy than a linear system, with similar point density, operated from 400 m above ground level. The new single photon counting lidar sensor shows great potential to meet the need for efficient collection of detailed information, due to high altitude, flight speed and pulse repetition rate. Further research is needed to improve the method for extraction of information and to investigate the limitations and drawbacks with the technology. The authors emphasize solar noise filtering in forest environments and the effect of different atmospheric conditions, as interesting subjects for further research.


SPL100; airborne laser scanning; area-based; high point density; benchmarking

Published in

Remote Sensing
2018, Volume: 10, number: 9, article number: 1442Publisher: MDPI