Airborne lasers a viable way to collect tree data, say researchers

Airborne laser scanning (ALS) could offer urban tree managers a cost-effective way of updating tree data, according to researchers in Helsinki.

Helsinki - image: Bjørn Giesenbauer
Helsinki - image: Bjørn Giesenbauer

ALS data has been used to detect and update all street trees in the Finnish capital's tree inventory, consisting of roughly 20,000 trees.

"The large number of trees makes the manual updating process very laborious," according to the authors of a newly published paper in the journal Urban Forestry & Urban Greening.

It claims the airborne technique detected 89 per cent of the trees, calculating an approximate height with an average 12 per cent error, and diameter at breast height with an average 29 per cent error.

"The presented method provides a practical and cost-effective tool for the mapping of urban tree characteristics," they claim, adding: "The cost-efficiency was further enhanced because the ALS data used were originally collected for other urban planning purposes."


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