Power lines classification is important for electric power management and geographical objects extraction using LiDAR (light detection and ranging) point cloud data. Many supervised classification approaches have been introduced for the extraction of features such as ground, trees, and buildings, and several studies have been conducted to evaluate the framework and performance of such supervised classification methods in power lines applications. However, these studies did not systematically investigate all of the relevant factors affecting the classification results, including the segmentation scale, feature selection, classifier variety, and scene complexity. In this study, we examined these factors systematically using airborne laser scanning and mobile laser scanning point cloud data. Our results indicated that random forest and neural network were highly suitable for power lines classification in forest, suburban, and urban areas in terms of the precision, recall, and quality rates of the classification results. In contrast to some previous studies, random forest yielded the best results, while Naïve Bayes was the worst classifier in most cases. Random forest was the more robust classifier with or without feature selection for various LiDAR point cloud data. Furthermore, the classification accuracies were directly related to the selection of the local neighborhood, classifier, and feature set. Finally, it was suggested that random forest should be considered in most cases for power line classification.
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