Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



WOOD PILE
Laser technique boosts aerial imaging of woodlands
by Staff Writers
Exeter, UK (SPX) Dec 02, 2016


This is the height variance of vegetation in Milton Keynes. Image courtesy University of Exeter. For a larger version of this image please go here.

A ground-breaking technique which allows green spaces to be mapped in 3D from an aircraft could boost biodiversity, aid human wellbeing and even help protect rainforests. Using an airborne laser scanning technique and a new image processing approach, scientists from the University of Exeter have been able to create detailed 3D maps that reveal the complex structures of vegetation from the tops of trees down to the ground.

Other techniques for mapping vegetation from the air have previously been able only to map the top of the canopy at high resolution or else estimate understorey (shrubs beneath the trees) at much coarser resolution - missing details such as woodland paths, areas eaten by deer and shrubberies in urban areas.

The new approach developed by Exeter academics uses a system called waveform lidar - and produces 3D images in far more detail than existing techniques, allowing vegetation to be mapped over large areas from above at high enough resolution to pick out small details beneath trees. Dr Karen Anderson, who led the research, explained how other methods for mapping green space can be biased because the hidden understorey is neglected.

"Vegetation canopies are very complex three-dimensional structures, and for the first time we can now measure what lies underneath the canopy over a very large area," she said.

"This has great potential to be used for a range of purposes, from promoting biodiversity in urban areas to mapping easy walking routes and monitoring the health of habitats from cities to rainforests."

Previous research has shown how green spaces boost human wellbeing, and the researchers hope that these data - gathered by aircraft over Luton, Bedford and Milton Keynes - can be used to improve understanding of biodiversity and the impacts it has on people living in towns and cities.

"Amongst other things, this approach allows us to understand how these urban green spaces are connected and we can then explore them in three dimensions, for example, from a bird's point of view," said Dr Anderson, of the Environment and Sustainability Institute on the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus.

"For example, the data might show us how we can manage the vegetation in certain places such that it could have a disproportionate effect on improving the environment."

"It also allows us to understand the impact of private gardens on urban biodiversity. Without this, it is almost impossible to gather data on what's in large numbers of people's gardens - and we know gardens have complex structures and perform a vital function in urban environments."

The 3D structure of vegetation affects ecological function and processes, providing an indicator of habitat and biomass, and impacting on weather and climate.

A similar sensor to the one used by the Exeter team, named Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI), is due to be added to the International Space Station in early 2019.

Dr Steven Hancock, the paper's lead author, coded the algorithms and worked on the project at the University of Exeter before moving to his current job working for the University of Maryland on the NASA GEDI project. "The computer programmes developed for this study are freely available and are being applied to NASA data as part of the calibration and testing of the GEDI instrument", Dr Hancock said.

After carrying out much of their research in the skies over Bedfordshire and ground testing with Dr Daniel Cox and University College London's Dr Mathias Disney and his ground-based laser, the academics thanked one local woman in the acknowledgements section of their paper.

"Thank you to Mrs Guy of Luton for access to her garden and for providing cups of tea to the field team," they wrote. The research, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), is published in the journal Remote Sensing of Environment.

The paper is entitled: "Measurement of fine-spatial-resolution 3D vegetation structure with airborne waveform lidar: Calibration and validation with voxelised terrestrial lidar."


Comment on this article using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

.


Related Links
University of Exeter
Forestry News - Global and Local News, Science and Application






Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
WOOD PILE
Green groups pressure Spain over 'at risk' wetlands
Madrid (AFP) Nov 30, 2016
Environmentalists piled pressure on Spain Wednesday over its sprawling Donana wetlands, a UNESCO World Heritage site they believe is at risk and could be put on the UN body's list of endangered habitats. Greenpeace activists blocked natural gas operations near the wetland reserves on Spain's southern coast - home to more than 4,000 species including the endangered Iberian lynx. And WWF ... read more


WOOD PILE
Ukraine moves giant new safety dome over Chernobyl

UT professor develops algorithm to improve online mapping of disaster areas

Ukraine to unveil giant new safety dome over Chernobyl

13 held over China power plant collapse as toll hits 74: media

WOOD PILE
Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

Understanding the way liquid spreads through paper

Laser-based Navigation Sensor Could Be Standard for Planetary Landing Missions

Inside tiny tubes, water turns solid when it should be boiling

WOOD PILE
Coral survey reveals 5,000-year-old genotypes

As oceans empty, Kenya fishermen must adapt or disappear

Crisis looms as half of Iraq's Mosul goes without water

500,000 Iraqis face 'catastrophic' Mosul water shortages: UN

WOOD PILE
A reindeer's perilous journey in Swedish Lapland

West Antarctic ice shelf breaking up from the inside out

American scientists discover the first Antarctic ground beetle

After 5-year study, scientists say unchecked Arctic melting may bring irreversible change

WOOD PILE
S. Korea confirms more cases of deadly bird flu

Companies using Indonesian palm oil tainted by abuse

Researchers produce map of farming households across the world

'I feel like I'm being exploited': Deliveroo riders seek recognition

WOOD PILE
Groundwater helium level could signal potential risk of earthquake

What's up with Madagascar

Two dead in Italy storms

Gulf state Qatar hit by flooding

WOOD PILE
Fidel Castro's military forays in Africa

US seeks UN arms embargo against South Sudan

Uganda nabs suspect in $120 mn fake arms deal

Africa waits and wonders on Trump's foreign policy

WOOD PILE
The role of physical environment in the 'broken windows' theory

Scientist uses 'dinosaur crater' rocks, prehistoric teeth to track ancient humans

Genes for speech may not be limited to humans

Traumatic stress shapes the brains of boys and girls in different ways




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement