iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Integration between TLS and UAV photogrammetry techniques for forestry applications

Irene Aicardi, Paolo Dabove, Andrea Maria Lingua, Marco Piras   

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 10, Issue 1, Pages 41-47 (2016)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1780-009
Published: Jun 23, 2016 - Copyright © 2016 SISEF

Technical Reports

Forests are significant resources from an ecological, economic and social point of view. Their protection and management could greatly benefit from a complete knowledge of the shape and distribution of trees in forest stands. To this purpose, aerial surveys, especially through Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS), were carried out in the last years to acquire point clouds to be used in 3D models aimed at achieving an accurate description of tree crowns and terrain. However, airborne data acquisition is expensive and may provide poor results in case of dense foliage. Further, point cloud resolution is not very high, as models with a grid of 2-3 m are usually obtained. In order to implement more accurate 3D forest models, a feasible solution is the integration of point clouds obtained by aerial acquisition (ALS or photogrammetry) for the treetops and the terrain description, with information from terrestrial surveys. In this paper, we investigated the possible integration of point clouds obtained by Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS) with those collected by photogrammetric 3D models based on images captured by Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in a test site located in northern Italy, with the aim of creating an accurate dataset of the forest site with high resolution and precision. The limits of ALS and TLS were bridged by aerial photogrammetry at low altitude (and vice versa). A 3D model of the study area was obtained with a resolution of 5 cm and a precision of 3 cm. Such model may be used in a wide range of applications in forestry studies, e.g., the reconstruction of 3D shapes of trees or the analysis of tree growth throught time. The implications of the use of such integrate approach as a support tool for decision-making in forest management are discussed.


Data Integration, Forestry, Laser Scanner, Photogrammetry, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, GNSS

Authors’ address

Irene Aicardi
Paolo Dabove
Andrea Maria Lingua
Marco Piras
Environment, Land, and Infrastructure Department (DIATI), Politecnico di Torino, c.so Duca degli Abruzzi 24, I-10129 Turin (Italy)

Corresponding author

Marco Piras


Aicardi I, Dabove P, Lingua AM, Piras M (2016). Integration between TLS and UAV photogrammetry techniques for forestry applications. iForest 10: 41-47. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1780-009

Academic Editor

Davide Travaglini

Paper history

Received: Jul 27, 2015
Accepted: Mar 04, 2016

First online: Jun 23, 2016
Publication Date: Feb 28, 2017
Publication Time: 3.70 months

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