Uses of airborne scanning laser altimetry for river flood modelling and coastal geomorphology
Mason, D. C., Cobby, D. C., Wang, H.-J., Scott, T. R., Bates, P. D., Horritt, M. S. and Wilson, M. (2004) Uses of airborne scanning laser altimetry for river flood modelling and coastal geomorphology. In: RSPSoc Workshop on Laser Scanning of the Environment, 11-12 November 2004, British Geological Survey, Nottingham. (Unpublished)
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Two ongoing projects at ESSC that involve the development of new techniques for extracting information from airborne LiDAR data and combining this information with environmental models will be discussed. The first project in conjunction with Bristol University is aiming to improve 2-D river flood flow models by using remote sensing to provide distributed data for model calibration and validation. Airborne LiDAR can provide such models with a dense and accurate floodplain topography together with vegetation heights for parameterisation of model friction. The vegetation height data can be used to specify a friction factor at each node of a model’s finite element mesh. A LiDAR range image segmenter has been developed which converts a LiDAR image into separate raster maps of surface topography and vegetation height for use in the model. Satellite and airborne SAR data have been used to measure flood extent remotely in order to validate the modelled flood extent. Methods have also been developed for improving the models by decomposing the model’s finite element mesh to reflect floodplain features such as hedges and trees having different frictional properties to their surroundings. Originally developed for rural floodplains, the segmenter is currently being extended to provide DEMs and friction parameter maps for urban floods, by fusing the LiDAR data with digital map data. The second project is concerned with the extraction of tidal channel networks from LiDAR. These networks are important features of the inter-tidal zone, and play a key role in tidal propagation and in the evolution of salt-marshes and tidal flats. The study of their morphology is currently an active area of research, and a number of theories related to networks have been developed which require validation using dense and extensive observations of network forms and cross-sections. The conventional method of measuring networks is cumbersome and subjective, involving manual digitisation of aerial photographs in conjunction with field measurement of channel depths and widths for selected parts of the network. A semi-automatic technique has been developed to extract networks from LiDAR data of the inter-tidal zone. A multi-level knowledge-based approach has been implemented, whereby low level algorithms first extract channel fragments based mainly on image properties then a high level processing stage improves the network using domain knowledge. The approach adopted at low level uses multi-scale edge detection to detect channel edges, then associates adjacent anti-parallel edges together to form channels. The higher level processing includes a channel repair mechanism.