A breakthrough management tool has been developed for surveying land accurately and quickly in South Australia.
Derived from a technology called “LiDAR” (laser-based light detection and ranging), aerial mapping specialist, Aerometrex, has devised the technology for councils and governments, and is working on technology to assist bushfire control authorities.
Mounted in the body of a specially fitted out aircraft, LiDAR emits laser pulses from the plane to ground level as it flies over a target survey area, with the pulse reflected back to sensors within the aircraft.
The data can then measure the exact location of trees, their height, the breadth and density of their canopies, the structure of branches, the height of canopies from the ground, and the type and density of the ground level vegetation around the trees.
The sheer volume, intensity and accuracy of the data is a major time and cost gain for councils compared to traditional and more time consuming, less accurate and costly land-based surveys.
“This LiDAR-derived tool is a breakthrough which takes managing our urban forests out of the 1950s foot patrols into a leading edge, data driven outcome,” Aerometrex’s Managing Director, Mr Mark Deuter said.
“Critically, the data can be generated in 3D images and direct comparisons made between flight readings taken say a year ago, and today, so that loss, or growth, in tree numbers and canopy spread, is readily identifiable,” Mr Deuter said.
Dr Samuel Holt, who is part of the R&D team at Aerometrex, says Aerometrex is currently researching additional LiDAR-derived tools to assist bushfire control authorities more accurately measure the location and type of actual fuel loads, and mapping areas in most need of risk mitigation and hazard reduction measures.
“This is a critical tool as it is the density of both canopy and vegetation close to the ground that is a contributing factor to how fast a fire spreads,” Dr Holt said.
“The crippling east coast and Adelaide Hills bushfires of last December and January this year, are testimony as to why these emergent technologies can be part of the new front-line firefighters over our Australian summers,” he said.
Find out more and view the latest video by Aerometrex on Urban Forests and LiDAR on YouTube: https://youtu.be/YaRFwL8dVNA.
Image above of LiDAR mapping supplied by Aerometrix
Photo at top by Jaymantri from Pexels