ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume V-2-2020
03 Aug 2020
 | 03 Aug 2020


F. Politz, M. Sester, and C. Brenner

Keywords: Airborne Laser Scanning, Semantic Segmentation, Point Cloud, Height Normalisation, Sensor Independence

Abstract. Semantic segmentation is one of the main steps in the processing chain for Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) point clouds, but it is also one of the most labour intensive steps, as it requires many labelled examples to train a classifier. National mapping agencies (NMAs) have to acquire nationwide ALS data every couple of years for their duties. Having point clouds cover different terrains such as flat or mountainous regions, a classifier often requires a refinement using additional data from those specific terrains. In this study, we present an algorithm, which is able to classify point clouds of similar terrain types without requiring any additional training data and which is still able to achieve overall F1-Scores of over 90% in most setups. Our algorithm uses up to two height distributions within a single cell in a rasterized point cloud. For each distribution, the empirical mean and standard deviation are calculated, which are the input for a Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) classifier. Consequently, our approach only requires the geometry of point clouds, which enables also the usage of the same network structure for point clouds from other sensor systems such as Dense Image Matching. Since the mean ground level varies with the observed area, we also examined five different normalisation methods for our input in order to reduce the ground influence on the point clouds and thus increase its transferability towards other datasets. We test our trained networks on four different tests sets with the classes’ ground, building, water, non-ground and bridge.