WATER SURFACE RECONSTRUCTION IN AIRBORNE LASER BATHYMETRY FROM REDUNDANT BED OBSERVATIONS
Keywords: LiDAR bathymetry, water surface reconstruction, air-water-interface, water bottom topography, refraction correction
Abstract. In airborne laser bathymetry knowledge of exact water level heights is a precondition for applying run-time and refraction correction of the raw laser beam travel path in the medium water. However, due to specular reflection especially at very smooth water surfaces often no echoes from the water surface itself are recorded (drop outs). In this paper, we first discuss the feasibility of reconstructing the water surface from redundant observations of the water bottom in theory. Furthermore, we provide a first practical approach for solving this problem, suitable for static and locally planar water surfaces. It minimizes the bottom surface deviations of point clouds from individual flight strips after refraction correction. Both theoretical estimations and practical results confirm the potential of the presented method to reconstruct water level heights in dm precision. Achieving good results requires enough morphological details in the scene and that the water bottom topography is captured from different directions.