Terrain-Referenced Positioning Using Airborne Laser Scanner

Jacob Campbell, Maarten Uijt De Haag, and Frank van Graas

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: This paper describes a high-accuracy, prototype terrain-referenced positioning system that uses an airborne laser scanner (ALS) as the terrain sensor. Meter-level position estimation is performed using a batch processing technique to search for the highest level of agreement between georeferenced ALS data and a digital elevation model (DEM) with approximately 2 m postspacing and elevation accuracy on the order of 30 cm root mean square (RMS). The prototype system uses an ALS with a 33,333 Hz pulse rate, providing a horizontal measurement resolution of less than 5 m. Exhaustive and gradient-based methods are investigated as part of the batch processing search technique, which calculates the most likely user position within a spatial search area referred to as the sum-of-squared-error (SSE) surface. The performance of the prototype system is evaluated with data collected using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Dryden DC-8 Airborne Laboratory.
Published in: NAVIGATION: Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 52, Number 4
Pages: 189 - 198
Cite this article: Campbell, Jacob, De Haag, Maarten Uijt, van Graas, Frank, "Terrain-Referenced Positioning Using Airborne Laser Scanner", NAVIGATION: Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 52, No. 4, Winter 2005-2006, pp. 189-198.
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