Capturing and quantifying the world in three dimensions (x,y,z) using light detection and ranging (lidar) technology drives fundamental advances in the Earth and Ecological Sciences (EES). However, additional lidar dimensions offer the possibility to transcend basic 3-D mapping capabilities, including i) the physical time (t) dimension from repeat lidar acquisition and ii) laser return intensity (LRIλ) data dimension based on the brightness of single- or multi-wavelength (λ) laser returns. The additional dimensions thus add to the x,y, and z dimensions to constitute the five dimensions of lidar (x,y,z, t, LRIλ1… λn). This broader spectrum of lidar dimensionality has already revealed new insights across multiple EES topics, and will enable a wide range of new research and applications. Here, we review recent advances based on repeat lidar collections and analysis of LRI data to highlight novel applications of lidar remote sensing beyond 3-D. Our review outlines the potential and current challenges of time and LRI information from lidar sensors to expand the scope of research applications and insights across the full range of EES applications.
Eitel, J.U., Höfle, B., Vierling, L.A., Abellán, A., Asner, G.P., Deems, J.S., Glennie, C.L., Joerg, P.C., LeWinter, A.L., Magney, T.S., Mandlburger, G., Morton, D.C., Müller, J. & Vierling, K.T. (2016): Beyond 3-D: The New Spectrum of LiDAR Applications for Earth and Ecological Sciences. Remote Sensing of Environment. Vol. 186, pp. 372-392.
The publication was created within the project 4DEMON – 4D Near Real-Time Environmental Monitoring, which is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts, Baden-Wuerttemberg.