Predicting L-Band Microwave Attenuation Through Forest Canopy Using Directional Structuring Elements And Airborne Lidar

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Center for Environmental and Geographical Science

Publication Date


Publication Title

IGARSS 2008-2008 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


The L-band signals broadcast by GPS satellites are attenuated by vegetation, making it problematic, if not impossible, to predict the performance of the system in forested areas without some quantitative measure of the structure and density of the local forest canopy. Airborne laser swath mapping (ALSM) observations can be used to rapidly and remotely sample the structure and density of forested areas. We report here the results of a study performed to determine the attenuation of GPS signals in forests, by correlating changes in the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the received GPS signals under different canopies, using three dimensional structure and density information about each canopy derived from ALSM observations. The results of this study verify that the loss of signal is strongly correlated with the local structure and density of the forest, and we demonstrate how the ALSM point cloud can be used to better predict the attenuation of the GPS signals. The results of this research also pertain to other modes of microwave transmission in forested areas, including satellite and cellular telephony, and the estimation of biomass from L-band radar.

First Page

III - 688

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