Lidar Waveform Analysis and Applications to Mapping Coastal Vegetation and Shallow Bathymetry

Christopher Parrish
Affiliate Professor


Friday, Oct. 1, 2010, 3:00pm
Chase 130

An exciting recent development in commercial, topographic lidar is the ability to digitize and record the backscattered laser echo for each transmitted pulse. By post-processing these lidar waveforms, analysts can customize the ranging strategy to suit the intended application and extract enhanced information about vertical structure and surface characteristics. To date, several lidar waveform post-processing algorithms have been described in the scientific literature. In implementing these algorithms, researchers and commercial software manufacturers would like to know how they compare. This presentation describes a new empirical test of waveform processing strategies, based on a ranging lab experiment. The results indicate that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to waveform processing: the selection of an algorithm and parameter settings is highly application-dependent. In presenting the results, Chris will discuss applications in coastal vegetation mapping using topographic lidar. The next phases of the research will involve adapting the algorithms and tests for working with bathymetric lidar waveforms. Specific goals include improving depth estimation in the very shallow water regime (0-2 m) and detecting submerged hazards to marine navigation.


Chris Parrish has a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering with an emphasis in Geospatial Information Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His primary research interests are in remote sensing, in particular, full-waveform lidar, 3D object detection, sensor modeling and calibration, uncertainty analysis, and sensor fusion for coastal mapping applications. Chris will be serving as an Affiliate Professor at CCOM-JHC beginning in Fall 2010, in addition to his current position as Lead Physical Scientist in the Remote Sensing Division of NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS). Chris’ responsibilities in NGS including leading research in remote sensing systems, platforms, and software in support of NOAA programs, as well as serving as NGS’ Project Manager for Integrated Ocean and Coastal Mapping (IOCM). His current work focuses on new lidar waveform post-processing strategies, and shoreline uncertainty modeling.