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In the reply to another question, @thehealingprocess refers to

"...a comparison of interpolation methods for interpolating elevation maps from LiDAR clouds, and in almost all scenarios thin plate spline interpolation was the most accurate method. IDW is good in some situations but it's quite primitive."

Question: does anyone have a reference to such a survey?

(I would have commented there but I had not enough reputation)

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Here is a good one (one of the authors is a regular user on GIS SE).

Evans, Jeffrey S.; Hudak, Andrew T. 2007. A multiscale curvature algorithm for classifying discrete return LiDAR in forested environments. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing. 45(4): 1029-1038.

Look on Table II (page 1034). The authors tested different interpolation methods to define the best way to classify ground returns with their algorithm (MCC):

  • ordinary kriging (OK),
  • inverse distance weighting (IDW),
  • triangular irregular network (TIN) and
  • thin plate splines (TPS).

TPS was the best method when compared with field data samples.

Reference source, here.

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