Cities globally face many environmental challenges and governments at every level are placing great emphasis on developing environmentally sustainable urban areas. Scientific studies have shown that the presence of trees in urban areas has a wide range of positive economic, social, and environmental effects. With this understanding, there has been an increase in the efforts to measure, assess and increase the urban tree canopy and green spaces within urban regions.
From an article in Spatial Source by Dr. Samuel Holt, R & D Aerometrix
LiDAR and tree canopy management
LiDAR, which stands for Light Detection and Ranging, is an active remote sensing method that is used to accurately measure the landscape in three dimensions. The unique way in which LiDAR pulses interact with vegetation make it possible to quantify vertically distributed forest and individual tree attributes and extend traditional two- dimensional environmental models into the third dimension.
Compared to other remote sensing methods for mapping vegetation (e.g. statistical approximations, supervised classifications and artificial intelligence based two-dimensional classifiers), LiDAR explicitly measures the location of trees in three dimensions and therefore has the potential to generate more accurate measurements of the proportion and spatial distribution of tree canopy coverage across urban landscapes.
Since LiDAR models the entire three- dimensional environment and not just vegetation, it can be used for an array of critical information sets such as vegetation analysis for environmental management, individual tree segmentation for asset management, accurate building footprints for urban planning and high accuracy digital terrain models for flood modelling.
LiDAR-derived vegetation metrics
Numerous targeted vegetation metrics can be derived from LiDAR that provide management experts and policymakers actionable information that can help maintain and increase the tree assets in urban areas. Aerometrex has developed a suite of vegetation metrics that are specifically tailored towards helping state and local governments manage tree canopy within their communities as well as achieve regional environmental goals.
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