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Creation and Analysis of Earth’s Surface Roughness Maps from Airborne LiDAR Measurements in Downtown Urban Landscape

DOI: 10.4236/jgis.2019.112015, PP. 212-238

Keywords: Surface Roughness, Urban Landscape, Airborne LiDAR, DSM/DEM/DTM, Slope Gradient, Profile Curvature, Standard Deviation Filtering, Spatial Analysis

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Abstract:

The Earth’s surface roughness constitutes an important parameter in terrain analysis for studying different environmental and engineering problems. Authors gave different definitions and measures for the earth’s surface roughness that usually depend on exploitation of digital elevation data for its reliable determination. This research aimed at exploring the different approaches for defining and extraction of the Earth’s surface roughness from Airborne LiDAR Measurements. It also aimed at evaluating the effects of the window size of the standard deviation filter on the created roughness maps in downtown landscapes using three known approaches namely; standard deviation filtering of the Digital Elevation Model (DEM), standard deviation filtering of the slope gradient model and standard deviation filtering of the profile curvature model. In this context, different roughness maps have been created from Airborne LiDAR measurements of the City of Toronto, Canada using the three filtering approaches with varying window sizes. Visual analysis has shown color tones of small roughness values with smooth textures dominate the roughness maps from small window sizes of the standard deviation filter, however, increasing the window sizes has produced wider variations of the color tones and rougher texture roughness maps. The standard deviations and ranges of the roughness maps from LiDAR DEM have increased due to increasing the filter window size while the skewness and kurtosis have decreased due to increasing the window size, indicating that the roughness maps from larger window sizes are statistically more symmetrical and more consistent. Thus, kurtosis has decreased by 53% and 82% due to increasing the window size to 7 × 7 and 15 × 15 respectively. The standard deviations of the roughness maps from the slope gradient model have increased due to increasing the window size till 15 × 15 while they have decreased with more increases. However, skewness has decreased due to increasing the window size till 15 × 15 and the kurtosis has decreased with higher rate till window size of 11 × 11. In the roughness maps from the profile curvature model, the ranges and skewness have decreased by 93.6% and 82.6% respectively due to increasing the window size to 15 × 15 while, kurtosis has decreased by 58.6%, 76.3% and 93.76% due to increases in the filter window size to 5 × 5, 7 × 7 and 15 × 15 respectively.

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