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Terrain Characterization from Ground-Based LADAR



Christoph J. Witzgall, Geraldine S. Cheok, David E. Gilsinn


Test runs of Army Research Laboratory s (ARL) autonomous vehicle (Experimental Unmanned Vehicle, XUV) were followed by the acquisition of high resolution scans of selected regions of the test course. These scans were used to i) determine terrain features (e.g., heavy vegetation, ditches, etc.) which may hamper the autonomous navigation of the XUV and ii) develop the ability to quantify terrain features such as vegetation or roughness. Those tasks require determination of ground or bare earth , which is a major issue of ongoing research into terrain characterization. Point clouds collected by ground-based LADAR (laser distance and ranging) pose a particular challenge because they are extremely dense in close proximity to the instrument and progressively sparse at larger distances. This work focuses on the National Institute of Standards and Technology s (NIST) procedures for ground determination and the development of gauges for vegetation coverage and slope variability.
Journal of Research (NIST JRES) - NIST
Report Number


Witzgall, C. , Cheok, G. and Gilsinn, D. (2003), Terrain Characterization from Ground-Based LADAR, Journal of Research (NIST JRES), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 22, 2024)
Created March 17, 2003, Updated October 16, 2008