none

COMBINATION SENSOR IMPROVES FORESTRY AWARENESS

17-05-2018
by 
in 

An ‘X-ray vision system’ that overlays three specific technologies to assess the structure of forested areas through the canopy is being developed in South Australia.

The collaboration between the forest industry, University of South Australia and the South Australian Government was launched as research to boost productivity in the large plantation forests in the south east of the SA

The three-pronged measurement approach uses light detection and ranging (lidar), thermal infra-red imaging and the hyperspectral imaging to generate 3D data. The remote sensing will allow both ground data and airborne data to accurately predict wood volumes, consider the impact of fires, insect damage and wind damage on yields.

University of South Australia autonomous systems expert Professor Anthony Finn said the addition of the infra-red sensor gave the drone the “X-ray vision” to see through the canopies to provide a full image of the trunk.

“We – like everyone else – use lidar to get point clouds but one of the challenges of lidar is the canopies to the trunks of the trees,” he said.

“What we do with the infrared cameras is we carefully manage the spectral properties of what we’re looking at so we can see through to the trunks – in simple terms you could consider it almost like x-ray vision.

“In addition to this we look at the surface chemistry using the hyperspectral imaging sensor, which provides us with an insight into how the trees are thriving as well.”

Lidar and drones have been used by the forestry industry for a decade but the additional use of high-resolution cameras and infrared sensors allows the researchers to “fill in the gaps”.

The system aims to achieve significant cost savings through a reduction in manual groundwork and more precise measurement and troubleshooting capabilities.

Field trials of the technology were conducted last month in South Australia and New South Wales, with mapping set to soon begin near Mt Gambier.

The drones are currently only able to scan small sections of forest at a time but Professor Finn said miniaturisation of the imaging software and possible commercialisation in the future would shrink the payload and allow it to be fitted to much smaller, more efficient drones.

“The trick at the moment is you’ve got to get a high-resolution sensor and in order to get one of those you almost have to build your own,” he said.

“Initial prototypes tend to be bigger than people are used to so you have to use a bigger drone.”

High quality Radiata Pine in Australia is used for structural timber in the domestic construction industry, and Blue Gum is generally woodchipped.

 

Related news & editorials

  1. worker
    07.05.2021
    07.05.2021
    by      In , In , In
    A $325,000 government grant has helped regional Victoria’s largest co-packing business increase its productivity through the introduction of an innovative product line and new automated equipment. 
    The grant, from the Agriculture Workforce Plan, has also enabled the Australian Disability Enterprise... Read More
  2. Angus Taylor
    06.05.2021
    06.05.2021
    by      In
    The Australian Government has given the green light to the construction of three large hydrogen plants in Victoria and Western Australia that will be among the world’s biggest.
    More than $100 million in conditional funding has been awarded through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency’s (ARENA)... Read More
  3. Lab
    05.05.2021
    05.05.2021
    by      In , In
    Newly launched space startup Quasar Satellite Technologies is set to revolutionise space communications, using radio telescope technology developed by the CSIRO. 
    With more than 57,000 satellites set to be launched by the end of the decade, Quasar is creating a world-leading ground station service... Read More
  4. 29.04.2021
    29.04.2021
    by      In
    In memory of Mr Lapp, the founding family set up the Oskar Lapp Foundation in 1992. This provides young scientists with incentives to effectively engage them in cardiovascular research. The Oskar Lapp Research Prize, worth 12,000 Euro, is presented annually, while the Oskar Lapp Grant, which... Read More
Products
Suppliers