EXTRACTION OF URBAN TREES FROM INTEGRATED AIRBORNE BASED DIGITAL IMAGE AND LIDAR POINT CLOUD DATASETS - INITIAL RESULTS
Timely and accurate acquisition of information on the condition and structural changes of urban trees serves as a tool for decision makers to better appreciate urban ecosystems and their numerous values which are critical to building up strategies for sustainable development. The conventional techniques used for extracting tree features include; ground surveying and interpretation of the aerial photography. However, these techniques are associated with some constraint, such as labour intensive field work, a lot of financial requirement, influences by weather condition and topographical covers which can be overcome by means of integrated airborne based LiDAR and very high resolution digital image datasets. This study presented a semi-automated approach for extracting urban trees from integrated airborne based LIDAR and multispectral digital image datasets over Istanbul city of Turkey. The above scheme includes detection and extraction of shadow free vegetation features based on spectral properties of digital images using shadow index and NDVI techniques and automated extraction of 3D information about vegetation features from the integrated processing of shadow free vegetation image and LiDAR point cloud datasets. The ability of the developed algorithms shows a promising result as an automated and cost effective approach to estimating and delineated 3D information of urban trees. The research also proved that integrated datasets is a suitable technology and a viable source of information for city managers to be used in urban trees management.