Empirical Comparison of Full-Waveform Lidar Algorithms: Range Extraction and Discrimination Performance


As third-party lidar software manufacturers are increasingly adding support for full-waveform data, a common question is which algorithm(s) to implement. To this end, a new approach is needed to compare and contrast various lidar waveform processing strategies from a practical, operational perspective. Quality and type of information output, processing speed, suitability for particular applications, robustness against poor parameter selection, and more subjective measures related to user experience are of interest. This paper describes a new empirical method of comparing range extraction and discrimination performance of different algorithms, based on a ranging-lab setup with multiple, adjustable screen targets, with precisely-measured separations. We present the results of comparing three different algorithms described in the scientific literature. The results show distinct differences and also indicate that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach: the choice of a specific algorithm and adjustable parameter settings are highly application-dependent.

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing


77, Number 8



Publisher Place

Bethesda, MD, USA


American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Journal Article