Terrestrial laser scanners collect forest data in awesome animation
U.K.'s Forest Research has teamed up with Tampere University and Université Grenoble Alpesto to optimize measurements from forest sample plots using a terrestrial LiDAR laser - producing more accurate, more detailed, timely, and harmonized information that can be fed into national and international forest information systems.
"The field of forest inventory is on the doorstep of a revolution," says U.K. Forestry Commission Research Agency's Dr. Eric Casella. "Laser-based technologies allow gathering field data non-destructively, more precisely and faster than ever."
A single scan from the laser produces millions of points in a 3D space by firing light pulses every direction for several minutes. Single scans are combined to cover larger areas - yielding billions of points per acre. 
Trees are then separated into individual point 'clouds', and reconstructed as cylinder models. Metrics are inferred from the reconstructions and compared against field measurements, revealing tree heights, log volume, stem taper, and bark surface areas.
Casella and the Agency were also behind the fly-through animation of a three-dimensionally constructed oak tree using terrestrial laser point clouds. The tree was scanned using a Leica HDS-6100 terrestrial laser from eight locations around the tree by firing 1.6 billion light pulses in every direction for two hours.

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Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at [email protected].