Refined Geometric Modeling of Laser Pulse Propagation in Airborne LiDAR Bathymetry

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung


To achieve a geometrically accurate representation of the water bottom, airborne LiDAR bathymetry (ALB) requires the correction of the raw 3D point coordinates due to refraction at the air-water interface, different signal velocity in air and water, and further propagation induced effects. The processing of bathymetric LiDAR data is based on a geometric model of the laser bathymetry pulse propagation describing the complex interactions of laser radiation with the water medium and the water bottom. The model comprises the geometric description of laser ray, water surface, refraction, scattering in the water column, and diffuse bottom reflection. Conventional geometric modeling approaches introduce certain simplifications concerning the water surface, the laser ray, and the bottom reflection. Usually, the local curvature of the water surface and the beam divergence are neglected and the travel path of the outgoing and the returned pulse is assumed to be identical. The deviations between the applied geometric model and the actual laser beam path cause a coordinate offset at the water bottom, which affects the accuracy potential of the measuring method. The paper presents enhanced approaches to geometric modeling which are based on a more accurate representation of water surface geometry and laser ray geometry and take into account the diffuse reflection at the water bottom. The refined geometric modeling results in an improved coordinate accuracy at the water bottom. The impact of the geometric modeling methods on the accuracy of the water bottom points is analyzed in a controlled manner using a laser bathymetry simulator. The findings will contribute to increase the accuracy potential of modern ALB systems.


Seiten (von - bis)121-137
FachzeitschriftPFG - Journal of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Geoinformation Science
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Apr. 2021

Externe IDs

Scopus 85105511146
ORCID /0000-0001-7662-8572/work/141556263



  • Laser ray path modeling, Water surface modeling, Refraction correction, Water surface curvature