A walk by the river: three-dimensional reconstruction of surface sedimentology and topography using wearable laser scanning

Richard Williams, Marie Lou Lamy, Edith Stott, Georgios Maniatis

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


    In the last two decades, quantification of fluvial topography has been transformed by a number of geomatics technologies that have enabled the acquisition of data with unprecedented spatial resolution. Hyperscale surveys with spatial extents of <1 km2 have been widely demonstrated, by means of Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) and Structure-from-Motion (SfM) photogrammetry. Recent advances in the development and integration of GNSS, IMU, lightweight laser scanning and SLAM technologies are now resulting in the emergence of wearable, mobile laser scanning systems that have the potential to increase data acquisition and processing rates by 1-2 orders of magnitude compared to TLS/SfM, and thus challenge the recent dominance of these two geomatics technologies. In this study we describe the methods and results of a comparison between a wearable laser scanning survey, using a Leica Pegasus Backpack, and a multi-station static TLS survey, using a Riegl VZ-1000 scanner. The evaluation is undertaken on a 600 m long reach of the braided River Feshie, Scotland, using data acquired in June 2017. Comparison between the DEMs produced from static and mobile laser scanning, across non-vegetated areas, revealed a Mean Error (ME) of -0.002 m and a Standard Deviation Error (SDE) of 0.109 m. Comparison to 100 independent check point resulted in a similar ME and SDE for static (ME = 0.061m; SDE = 0.030 m) and mobile (ME = 0.044 m; SDE = 0.029 m) laser scanning. Empirical relationships between sub-metre topographic variability and median sediment grain size (10-100 mm), across 14 grid-by-number samples, were similar and demonstrate that surface roughness from wearable laser scanning can be used to derive reach-scale maps of median grain size. These results demonstrate that wearable laser scanning generates hyperscale topographic models that are comparable in quality to more time-consuming multi-station TLS setups. Wearable laser scanning is likely to be commonly adopted for fluvial topographic surveys and will become established as a versatile survey technology.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
    EventAmerican Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2017 - New Orleans, United States
    Duration: 11 Dec 201715 Dec 2017


    ConferenceAmerican Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2017
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    CityNew Orleans
    Internet address


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