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Individual maize location and height estimation in field from UAV-borne LiDAR and RGB images

Gao, M., Yang, F., Wei, H. and Liu, X. (2022) Individual maize location and height estimation in field from UAV-borne LiDAR and RGB images. Remote Sensing, 14 (10). e2292. ISSN 2072-4292

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/rs14102292


Crop height is an essential parameter used to monitor overall crop growth, forecast crop yield, and estimate crop biomass in precision agriculture. However, individual maize segmentation is the prerequisite for precision field monitoring, which is a challenging task because the maize stalks are usually occluded by leaves between adjacent plants, especially when they grow up. In this study, we proposed a novel method that combined seedling detection and clustering algorithms to segment individual maize plants from UAV-borne LiDAR and RGB images. As seedlings emerged, the images collected by an RGB camera mounted on a UAV platform were processed and used to generate a digital orthophoto map. Based on this orthophoto, the location of each maize seedling was identified by extra-green detection and morphological filtering. A seed point set was then generated and used as input for the clustering algorithm. The fuzzy C-means clustering algorithm was used to segment individual maize plants. We computed the difference between the maximum elevation value of the LiDAR point cloud and the average elevation value of the bare digital terrain model (DTM) at each corresponding area for individual plant height estimation. The results revealed that our height estimation approach test on two cultivars produced the accuracy with R2 greater than 0.95, with the mean square error (RMSE) of 4.55 cm, 3.04 cm, and 3.29 cm, as well as the mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) of 3.75%, 0.91%, and 0.98% at three different growth stages, respectively. Our approach, utilizing UAV-borne LiDAR and RGB cameras, demonstrated promising performance for estimating maize height and its field position.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Computer Science
ID Code:105118
Uncontrolled Keywords:UAV, LiDAR, orthophoto, maize, height estimation, seedling, fuzzy C-means


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