Structure-from-Motion based vegetation modeling and shade estimation

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
James Nathaniel Balcomb (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Jeffrey Colby

Abstract: Although three-dimensional (3-D) light dimension and range (LiDAR) point cloud datasets describing the structure of vegetation have proven to be highly useful for ecological modeling, the collection of such data is expensive. However, a new technology known as Structure-from-Motion, or SfM, has become available that can be used to create 3-D point cloud datasets for far less cost. A small unmanned aerial system (UAS), point and shoot digital camera, and Agisoft PhotoScan® ( software were used to create a highly dense 3-D SfM point cloud dataset representing a short reach of the Upper South Fork of the New River in Boone, NC. The quality of the 3-D SfM point cloud dataset was evaluated with an emphasis on how accurately vegetation was represented. Also, a digital surface model (DSM) based on the 3-D SfM point cloud dataset was used in conjunction with a solar ray tracing method to predict shade cast by vegetation in the study area. Overall, the results of this study suggest that SfM based point clouds representing vegetation are of a high enough quality to be used for ecological modeling purposes.

Additional Information

Balcomb, J.N. (2015) Structure-from-Motion based vegetation modeling and shade estimation. Unpublished master's thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
Language: English
Date: 2015
, Structure from Motion, SfM, Unmanned aerial system, UAS, Riparian shade ,

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