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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Bias of cylinder diameter estimation from ground-based laser scanners with different beam widths: A simulation study

Forsman, Mona; Borlin, Niclas; Olofsson, Kenneth; Reese, Heather; Holmgren, Johan


In this study we have investigated why diameters of tree stems, which are approximately cylindrical, are often overestimated by mobile laser scanning. This paper analyzes the physical processes when using ground-based laser scanning that may contribute to a bias when estimating cylinder diameters using circle-fit methods. A laser scanner simulator was implemented and used to evaluate various properties, such as distance, cylinder diameter, and beam width of a laser scanner-cylinder system to find critical conditions. The simulation results suggest that a positive bias of the diameter estimation is expected. Furthermore, the bias follows a quadratic function of one parameter - the relative footprint, i.e., the fraction of the cylinder width illuminated by the laser beam. The quadratic signature opens up a possibility to construct a compensation model for the bias. (C) 2017 International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Inc. (ISPRS). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Mobile laser scanning; Diameter estimation; Cylinder measurement; Simulation; Terrestrial laser scanning; Circle fit methods; Forest measurement; Tree stem diameter

Published in

ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
2018, Volume: 135, pages: 84-92