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3D Spatial Data, Analysis, Visualization and Infrastructures in Geosciences - From 3D Point Clouds to Information
Convener: Bernhard Höfle  | Co-Conveners: Balázs Székely , Norbert Pfeifer 
 / Tue, 29 Apr, 15:30–17:15
 / Attendance Tue, 29 Apr, 17:30–19:00

In recent years laser scanning - also referred to as LiDAR - evolved into a very effective tool for high-resolution 3D data acquisition of the Earth surface topography enabling a large set of applications in geomorphology. Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) is a straightforward and very precise tool for creating country-wide digital elevation models with up to sub-meter resolution. Terrestrial Laser Scanning (TLS) and Mobile Laser Scanning (MLS) from moving vehicles (e.g. car) are also increasingly applied for fast data capture of the surface on local scale where higher temporal resolution is required. On a global scale ongoing research and mission concepts are promising and let expect spaceborne laser scanning (SLS) in the next decade with unprecedented resolution and accuracy of a global dataset of the Earth's topography.

While rasterized digital elevation models are included in current Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) initiatives (e.g. European INSPIRE), the primary product of laser scanning, the 3D point cloud, is not yet seen as important base dataset. However, valuable 3D geomorphological information can be extracted from the point cloud and a multitude of applications in geosciences only become possible if the availability and access to the laser point cloud is maintained. For example, the definition of what belongs to the bare Earth, i.e. the digital terrain model (DTM), strongly depends on the specific purpose the data will be used for. Should e.g. the river bed or water surface be included in the DTM? Having access to the 3D point cloud as well as processing tools allows for a purpose-oriented derivation of elevation models and data quality assessment facilitating improved and also novel geo-scientific applications.

The Geospatial Web (GeoWeb) as integral part of SDIs providing geo-information in web-based infrastructures with distributed, service-oriented architectures is increasingly gaining in importance in research, business, and society. The GeoWeb offers the unique possibility to stimulate collaborative (or even crowdsourced) data acquisition and analysis. With regard to 3D point clouds the necessity of having analysis tools available for processing the 3D data becomes evident. To achieve interoperability, new standards for data, metadata and web services, in particular for the geoprocessing web components, are required.

This session brings together researchers aiming at increasing the availability, understanding, and use of 3D spatial data (e.g. 3D laser point cloud) and services to support research in geomorphology in particular and the geosciences in general. This includes studies on 3D data acquisition, management, analysis and visualization in a broader GeoWeb and SDI context. In particular, case studies and applications for the investigation of Earth surface processes and landforms using 3D data are invited. We particularly encourage early stage researchers to present their studies.