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Simulation of Satellite, Airborne and Terrestrial LiDAR with DART (I):Waveform Simulation with Quasi-Monte Carlo Ray TracingLight Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) provides unique data on the 3-D structure of atmosphere constituents and the Earth's surface. Simulating LiDAR returns for different laser technologies and Earth scenes is fundamental for evaluating and interpreting signal and noise in LiDAR data. Different types of models are capable of simulating LiDAR waveforms of Earth surfaces. Semi-empirical and geometric models can be imprecise because they rely on simplified simulations of Earth surfaces and light interaction mechanisms. On the other hand, Monte Carlo ray tracing (MCRT) models are potentially accurate but require long computational time. Here, we present a new LiDAR waveform simulation tool that is based on the introduction of a quasi-Monte Carlo ray tracing approach in the Discrete Anisotropic Radiative Transfer (DART) model. Two new approaches, the so-called "box method" and "Ray Carlo method", are implemented to provide robust and accurate simulations of LiDAR waveforms for any landscape, atmosphere and LiDAR sensor configuration (view direction, footprint size, pulse characteristics, etc.). The box method accelerates the selection of the scattering direction of a photon in the presence of scatterers with non-invertible phase function. The Ray Carlo method brings traditional ray-tracking into MCRT simulation, which makes computational time independent of LiDAR field of view (FOV) and reception solid angle. Both methods are fast enough for simulating multi-pulse acquisition. Sensitivity studies with various landscapes and atmosphere constituents are presented, and the simulated LiDAR signals compare favorably with their associated reflectance images and Laser Vegetation Imaging Sensor (LVIS) waveforms. The LiDAR module is fully integrated into DART, enabling more detailed simulations of LiDAR sensitivity to specific scene elements (e.g., atmospheric aerosols, leaf area, branches, or topography) and sensor configuration for airborne or satellite LiDAR sensors.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Gastellu-Etchegorry, Jean-Philippe
(Centre d'Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphere Toulouse, France)
Yin, Tiangang
(Centre d'Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphere Toulouse, France)
Lauret, Nicolas
(Centre d'Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphere Toulouse, France)
Grau, Eloi
(Centre d'Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphere Toulouse, France)
Rubio, Jeremy
(Centre d'Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphere Toulouse, France)
Cook, Bruce D.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Morton, Douglas C.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Sun, Guoqing
(Maryland Univ. Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
April 7, 2017
Publication Date
July 30, 2016
Publication Information
Publication: Remote Sensing of Environment
Publisher: Elsevier
Volume: 184
ISSN: 0034-4257
e-ISSN: 1879-0704
Subject Category
Earth Resources And Remote Sensing
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
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