The building shadow problem of airborne lidar

Tian-Yuan Shih*, Ching Mei Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Airborne lidar systems are equipped with a scanning mechanism that produces a swath of 3D coordinated points to form a cloud in each flight strip. The scanning is perpendicular to the direction of flight. The density of the point cloud is one of the major quality measures for the data collected with such systems. Point density, shade (occlusion of the laser beam) and penetration rate are major factors to be considered in the flight design. For practical operations, flight missions may be designed with overlaps ranging from 5 to 50%. Aside from the percentage overlap, the field of view is another important parameter for flight design. An evaluation scheme to assess the percentage overlap between flight strips and the selection of the field of view is proposed in this study. The influences of overlap and field of view are also demonstrated with real data gathered by an airborne lidar system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)372-385
Number of pages14
JournalPhotogrammetric Record
Issue number128
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2009


  • Airborne laser scanning
  • Digital elevation model
  • Field of view
  • Flight planning
  • Laser shadow
  • Lidar
  • Percentage overlap


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