Effective leaf area index retrieving from terrestrial point cloud data: coupling computational geometry application and Gaussian mixture model clustering
Leaf area index (LAI) is one of the most important structural parameters of forestry studies which manifests the ability of the green vegetation interacted with the solar illumination. Classic understanding about LAI is to consider the green canopy as integration of horizontal leaf layers. Since multi-angle remote sensing technique developed, LAI obliged to be deliberated according to the observation geometry. Effective LAI could formulate the leaf-light interaction virtually and precisely. To retrieve the LAI/effective LAI from remotely sensed data therefore becomes a challenge during the past decades. Laser scanning technique can provide accurate surface echoed coordinates with densely scanned intervals. To utilize the density based statistical algorithm for analyzing the voluminous amount of the 3-D points data is one of the subjects of the laser scanning applications. Computational geometry also provides some mature applications for point cloud data (PCD) processing and analysing. In this paper, authors investigated the feasibility of a new application for retrieving the effective LAI of an isolated broad leaf tree. Simplified curvature was calculated for each point in order to remove those non-photosynthetic tissues. Then PCD were discretized into voxel, and clustered by using Gaussian mixture model. Subsequently the area of each cluster was calculated by employing the computational geometry applications. In order to validate our application, we chose an indoor plant to estimate the leaf area, the correlation coefficient between calculation and measurement was 98.28 %. We finally calculated the effective LAI of the tree with 6 × 6 assumed observation directions.