CLASSIFICATION OF TREE SPECIES AND STANDING DEAD TREES BY FUSING UAV-BASED LIDAR DATA AND MULTISPECTRAL IMAGERY IN THE 3D DEEP NEURAL NETWORK POINTNET++
Keywords: object classification, vegetation mapping, deep neural network, point cloud processing
Abstract. Knowledge of tree species mapping and of dead wood in particular is fundamental to managing our forests. Although individual tree-based approaches using lidar can successfully distinguish between deciduous and coniferous trees, the classification of multiple tree species is still limited in accuracy. Moreover, the combined mapping of standing dead trees after pest infestation is becoming increasingly important. New deep learning methods outperform baseline machine learning approaches and promise a significant accuracy gain for tree mapping. In this study, we performed a classification of multiple tree species (pine, birch, alder) and standing dead trees with crowns using the 3D deep neural network (DNN) PointNet++ along with UAV-based lidar data and multispectral (MS) imagery. Aside from 3D geometry, we also integrated laser echo pulse width values and MS features into the classification process. In a preprocessing step, we generated the 3D segments of single trees using a 3D detection method. Our approach achieved an overall accuracy (OA) of 90.2% and was clearly superior to a baseline method using a random forest classifier and handcrafted features (OA = 85.3%). All in all, we demonstrate that the performance of the 3D DNN is highly promising for the classification of multiple tree species and standing dead trees in practice.