A COMPARISON OF SINGLE PHOTON AND FULL WAVEFORM LIDAR
Single photon sensitive LiDAR sensors are currently competing with conventional multi-photon laser scanning systems. The advantage of the prior is the potentially higher area coverage performance, which comes at the price of an increased outlier rate and a lower ranging accuracy. In this contribution, the principles of both technologies are reviewed with special emphasis on their respective properties. In addition, a comparison of Single Photon LiDAR (SPL) and FullWaveform LiDAR data acquired in July and September 2018 in the City of Vienna are presented. From data analysis we concluded that (i) less flight strips are needed to cover the same area with comparable point density with SPL, (ii) the sharpness of the resulting 3D point cloud is higher for the waveform LiDAR dataset, (iii) SPL exhibits moderate vegetation penetration under leaf-on conditions, and (iv) the dispersion of the SPL point cloud assessed in smooth horizontal surface parts competes with waveform LiDAR but is higher by a factor of 2–3 for inclined and grassy surfaces, respectively. Still, SPL yielded satisfactory precision measures mostly below 10 cm.