Aspects of Accuracy, Scanning Angle Optimization, and Intensity Calibration Related to Nationwide Laser Scanning

Eero Ahokas

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


    Airborne laser scanning is a technique that produces three-dimensional coordinates of the Earth’s surface as well as generating intensity values. Nationwide airborne laser scanning was launched in Finland in 2008 and some 180 000 km2 had been scanned by the end of 2012. While the main goal in this endeavour is to produce an accurate digital elevation/terrain model (2 x 2 m2 grid size) of the whole of the country, other applications, e.g. forestry, will benefit from the data as well. This study deals with the accuracy of airborne laser scanning, the optimization of the scanning angle, and the calibration of intensity. Accuracy assessments of airborne laser scanning have shown that the geometric accuracy of the method can fulfill the accuracy requirements for producing a nationwide digital elevation model with a grid of 2 x 2 m2. When studying the effect of scanning angle and biomass on elevation modeling capability, it was found that it would be possible to increase the scanning angle applied in Finland’s nationwide laser scanning. Even though the accuracy of the elevation model in the conditions prevailing in Finland allows increasing of the scanning angle, other applications would most probably not benefit from this. For example, these same data are sometimes used in nationwide forest inventory in Finland. A method for relative and absolute calibration of airborne laser scanning intensity was developed. The portable reference targets have proved their usefulness for calibration purposes. An intensity correction method should be used in pre-processing the airborne laser data. As a result of this, the usability of the intensity values may increase in practical applications, such as in classification. The studies constituting this dissertation have already impacted on the practical aspects of the nationwide airborne laser scanning dealing with accuracy assessment, the work done in the field of intensity calibration, and scanning angle analysis may have a further impact on nationwide laser scanning in the coming years. The optimization of airborne laser scanning flight parameters for multi-use nationwide laser scanning is a topic deserving further research.
    Translated title of the contributionTarkkuuden, keilauskulman optimoinnin ja intensiteetin kalibroinnin näkökulmia valtakunnallisen laserkeilauksen kannalta
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor's degree
    Awarding Institution
    • Aalto University
    • Haggren, Henrik, Supervising Professor
    • Hyyppä, Juha, Thesis Advisor, External person
    • Kaasalainen, Sanna, Thesis Advisor, External person
    Print ISBNs978-951-711-300-7
    Electronic ISBNs978-951-711-301-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


    • airborne laser scanning
    • intensity
    • calibration
    • accuracy
    • scanning angle


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