COMPARISON OF HIGH AND LOW DENSITY AIRBORNE LIDAR DATA FOR FOREST ROAD QUALITY ASSESSMENT
Keywords: forest road, road quality, forestry, LiDAR, ALS
Abstract. Good quality forest roads are important for forest management. Airborne laser scanning data can help create automatized road quality detection, thus avoiding field visits. Two different pulse density datasets have been used to assess road quality: high-density airborne laser scanning data from Kiihtelysvaara and low-density data from Tuusniemi, Finland. The field inventory mainly focused on the surface wear condition, structural condition, flatness, road side vegetation and drying of the road. Observations were divided into poor, satisfactory and good categories based on the current Finnish quality standards used for forest roads. Digital Elevation Models were derived from the laser point cloud, and indices were calculated to determine road quality. The calculated indices assessed the topographic differences on the road surface and road sides. The topographic position index works well in flat terrain only, while the standardized elevation index described the road surface better if the differences are bigger. Both indices require at least a 1 metre resolution. High-density data is necessary for analysis of the road surface, and the indices relate mostly to the surface wear and flatness. The classification was more precise (31–92%) than on low-density data (25–40%). However, ditch detection and classification can be carried out using the sparse dataset as well (with a success rate of 69%). The use of airborne laser scanning data can provide quality information on forest roads.