Canadian Forest Service Publications

Digital Aerial Photogrammetry for Updating Area-Based Forest Inventories: A Review of Opportunities, Challenges, and Future Directions. 2019. Goodbody, T.R.H., Coops, N.C., White, J.C. Curr Forestry Rep 5, 55–75.

Year: 2019

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40122

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1007/s40725-019-00087-2

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Mark record


Purpose of Review - Three-dimensional (3D) data on forest structure have transformed the level of detail and accuracy of forest information. While these 3D data have primarily been derived from airborne laser scanning (ALS), there has been growing interest in the use of 3D data derived from digital aerial photogrammetry (DAP) and image-matching algorithms. In particular, research and operational forestry communities are interested in using DAP data to update existing ALS-derived enhanced forest inventories. Although DAP depends on accurate terrain information provided by ALS to normalize digital surface models to heights above ground, in an inventory update scenario, DAP data currently have cost advantages over repeat ALS acquisitions. Recent Findings - Extensive research across a broad range of forest types has demonstrated that DAP data can provide comparable accuracies to ALS for estimating inventory attributes such as volume, basal area, and height when used in an area-based approach with co-located ground plot information. Summary - Herein, we review research relevant to the use of DAP for updating area-based forest inventories in subsequent inventory cycles, highlighting issues and opportunities for DAP data in this context. We examine the use of DAP for area-based forest inventory applications, comparing data inputs, algorithms, and outcomes across numerous studies and forest environments. Lastly, we outline outstanding research gaps that require further inquiry including benchmarking of acquisition parameters and image-matching algorithms.

Plain Language Summary

This manuscript is a comprehensive review and synthesis of past research into the potential of using digital aerial photogrammetry (DAP) as a tool for updating area-based forest inventories. The paper is structured as follows:

  1. Introduce DAP and outline its potential as an inventory updating dataset
  2. Review DAP technology and processing methodologies
  3. Describe information requirements for updating inventories
  4. Review and summarize studies that used DAP to assess attribute model accuracy with comparison to airborne laser scanning
  5. Discuss DAP research gaps and future directions.