Articles | Volume 9, issue 6
19 Nov 2009
 | 19 Nov 2009

Assessing the capability of terrestrial laser scanning for monitoring slow moving landslides

A. Prokop and H. Panholzer

Abstract. Digital elevation models (DEM) are widely used to determine characteristics of mass movement processes such as accumulation and deposition of material, volume estimates or the orientation of discontinuities. To create such DEMs point cloud data is provided by terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) and recently used for analysis of mass movements. Therefore the reliability of TLS data was investigated in a comparative study with tachymetry. The main focus was on the possibility of determining movement patterns of landslides <100 mm. Therefore, several post processing steps are needed and the reliability of those were analyzed. The post processing steps that were investigated include: (1) The registration process is a crucial step considering long term TLS monitoring of an object and can be significantly improved using an iterative closest point (ICP) algorithm; (2) Filtering methods are necessary to create DEMs in order to separate favored laser points on the terrain surface (ground points) from topographically irrelevant points (non-ground-points). Therefore GIS tools were applied. Surfaces with and without vegetation cover were differentiated; (3) Displacement vectors are used to determine slope movement rates. They were created from TLS data after the computation of true orthophotos.

Using the methodology presented it was not possible to determine movement rates <50 mm per period. However, if the quality of the point density is described and areas with very low point density are detected, reliable conclusions can be made regarding slope movement patterns and erosion and deposition of material for changes <100 mm for the investigated slope.