Through integration of aerial and ground-based mobile mapping sensors and systems, a team of Purdue digital forestry researchers has used advanced technology to locate, count and measure each tree in 3D (over 1,000) in a matter of hours.
From an article in Purdue Agriculture News by Elizabeth K. Gardner.
“The machines are counting and measuring each tree – it is not an estimation using modeling, it is a true forest inventory,” said Songlin Fei, the Dean’s Remote Sensing Chair and professor of forestry and natural resources and leader of Purdue University’s Digital Forestry initiative. “This is a groundbreaking development on our path to using technology for a quick, accurate inventory of the global forest ecosystem, which will improve our ability to prevent forest fires, detect disease, perform accurate carbon counting and make informed forest management decisions.”
The technology uses manned aircraft, unmanned drones and backpack-mounted systems. The systems integrate cameras with light detection and ranging units, or LiDAR, together with navigation sensors, including integrated global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and inertial navigation systems (INS). A Purdue team led by Ayman Habib, the Thomas A. Page Professor of Civil Engineering and head of Purdue’s Digital Photogrammetry Research Group, who co-led the project with Fei, designed and created the systems.
“The different parts of the systems take advantage of the synergistic characteristics of acquired data to determine which component has the most accurate information for a given data point,” Habib said. “This is how we can integrate small-scale and large-scale information. One platform alone cannot do it. We needed to find a way for multiple platforms and sensors – providing different kinds of information – to work together. This gives the full picture at extremely high resolution. The fine details are not lost.”
A machine-learning algorithm developed by the team to analyze the data is as important as the custom autonomous vehicles they created. The findings of a study using their technology are detailed in a paper published in the journal Remote Sensing.
“This system gathers a variety of information about each tree, including height, trunk diameter and branching information,” Habib said. “In addition to this information, we maintain precise location and time tags of acquired features.”
For the complete article on measuring each tree in 3D CLICK HERE.
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