Identifying ground

This exercise uses PDAL to classify ground returns using the Simple Morphological Filter (SMRF) technique.

Note

This excerise is an adaptation of the Identifying ground returns using ProgressiveMorphologicalFilter segmentation tutorial on the PDAL website by Brad Chambers. You can find more detail and example invocations there.

Exercise

The primary input for Digital Terrain Model generation is a point cloud with ground vs. not-ground classifications. In this example, we will use an algorithm provided by PDAL, the Simple Morphological Filter technique to generate a ground surface.

See also

You can read more about the specifics of the SMRF algorithm from [Pingle2013]_`

Command

Invoke the following command, substituting accordingly, in your OSGeo4W Shell:

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pdal translate ^
   c:/Users/hobu/PDAL/exercises/analysis/ground/CSite1_orig-utm.laz ^
   -o c:/Users/hobu/PDAL/exercises/analysis/ground/ground.laz ^
   smrf ^
   -v 4

../../../../_images/ground-run-command.png

As we can see, the algorithm does a great job of discriminating the points, but there’s a few issues.

../../../../_images/ground-classified-included.png

There’s noise underneath the main surface that will cause us trouble when we generate a terrain surface.

../../../../_images/ground-classified-included-side.png

Filtering

We do not yet have a satisfactory surface for generating a DTM. When we visualize the output of this ground operation, we notice there’s still some noise. We can stack the call to PMF with a call to a the filters.outlier technique we learned about in Removing noise.

  1. Let us start by removing the non-ground data:
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pdal translate ^
   c:/Users/hobu/PDAL/exercises/analysis/ground/CSite1_orig-utm.laz ^
   -o c:/Users/hobu/PDAL/exercises/analysis/ground/ground.laz ^
   smrf ^
   range ^
   --filters.range.limits="Classification[2:2]" ^
   -v 4

../../../../_images/ground-ground-only-view.png

2. Now we will instead use the translate command to stack the filters.outlier and filters.smrf stages:

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pdal translate ^
   c:/Users/hobu/PDAL/exercises/analysis/ground/CSite1_orig-utm.laz ^
   -o c:/Users/hobu/PDAL/exercises/analysis/ground/denoised-ground-only.laz ^
   outlier smrf range ^
   --filters.outlier.method="statistical" ^
   --filters.outlier.mean_k=8 ^
   --filters.outlier.multiplier=3.0 ^
   --filters.smrf.ignore="Classification[7:7]" ^
   --filters.range.limits="Classification[2:2]" ^
   --writers.las.compression=true --verbose 4

In this invocation, we have more control over the process. First the outlier filter merely classifies outliers with a Classification value of 7. These outliers are then ignored during PMF processing with the ignore option. Finally, we add a range filter to extract only the ground returns (i.e., Classification value of 2).

The result is a more accurate representation of the ground returns.

../../../../_images/ground-filtered.png