Since time immemorial, forestry has been a huge part of human civilization. Trees do not only serve as important natural resources, but they also play a huge part in ensuring the balance of the Earth’s ecosystem. Thus, companies and organizations need to ensure that they are up to date with modern ways of improving the forestry industry. In this article, we will look at how Point Cloud in Forestry through Scan X helps in solving common problems in forestry that bombard surveyors and environmentalists.
What is Forestry?
To start, we need to define forestry in its purest form. According to the Association of University Forestry Schools of Canada, it is the science of caring, protecting, and managing forests as well as their ecosystems.
Forestry is a very wide and multi-disciplinary profession that touches not only trees. It also includes biodiversity, animal habitats, as well as water conditions. Thus, it is very common to see other professions or industries touch bases with practitioners of this field.
One of the most common methods of conserving forests is surveying. It greatly helps in monitoring changes especially regarding canopy size, tree count, as well as overall fauna growth.
History of Forestry
The roots of forestry can be historically traced back to ancient civilizations. According to Britannica, there are some pieces of evidence found in Tanzania 60,000 years ago wherein our ancestors used wood as construction materials.
Additionally, Mesopotamian and Indian civilizations were known to manage forests for firewood and raw resources for tools.
In the Medieval Period Europe, lawmakers built the first laws regarding forest protection. They did this to conserve domains of Feudal Lords (those who own land). However, it was only in 1825 when formal forestry education was introduced in schools such as the National School of Forestry in France.
Currently, various environmental and forestry laws exist in different countries around the world. There are even forests owned by governments, tribes, private companies, and even individuals. Forestry has truly changed over time.
Forestry Surveying Methods
Across history, several surveying techniques were used by foresters to gain data about a specific region. Since measuring every single tree trunk diameter was impossible back then, they used sampling method. This means that they take different trees in various areas of the forest and use them as a representation of the general tree population.
To take trunk widths, foresters use calipers and D-tapes. Additionally, they also used topographic maps to have an approximation regarding the total canopy coverage of a specific area. This way, boundaries, the direction of sources such as bodies of water, as well as affected trees by a bush or forest fire can be inaccurately identified and determined, albeit at a rough estimate.
With the advent of technology in the 21st Century, new methods arose to replace traditional ways of calculating forest areas. These include GIS (Geographic Information System Mapping), GPRs (Ground Penetrating Radars), Sattelite Imagery, and Modern Field Survey.
Despite the benefits that these old and new techniques to the table, the forestry industry still faces major bottlenecks and issues. Here are some of them:
The terrain is one of the most common roadblocks that exist especially for traditional surveying methods. Since old ways require foresters and surveyors to go to the site for measurements, dangerous areas such as steep mountains and inaccessible zones can be a real headache.
Not only that but there is also the factor of force majeure such as rains and landslides that can affect the overall efficiency of a forest survey.
Using traditional methods and even some modern methods such as theodolite takes a lot of time. One full scan or mapping of a forest can take weeks or even months to finish, especially if a very accurate one is needed. It is always appreciated if surveying duration is lessened without compromising quality, it reduces required finances.
Traditional forestry surveying methods required everything to be slowly done by foresters and this puts a huge workload in every single project. The tools used can only function on-site, and there is no way to remotely work from another place. Also, scanning or mapping takes a lot of manpower especially for a shorter duration is necessary.
One of the major issues present in traditional forestry surveying methods is collaboration. Back then, finished outputs of surveys only exist in 2-dimensional maps or even mere figures or measurements taken from the site.
This reduces potential visual benefits since concerned parties are not able to get a grasp of the overall look of a forest without going there by themselves. Exchange of information only exists in transferring topographical and numerical data, and this can result in inefficiency in the long run.
A key problem brought by traditional methods takes place in precision. Since most ways to calculate trunk diameters and tree count are through sampling, it is difficult to provide a very precise measurement of individual trees in a certain spot.
This can pose problems especially in the estimation of carbon data and forest reclamation activities.
ScanX in Integrating Point Cloud in Forestry
ScanX solves all these problems with the help of automation, segmentation, and collaboration.
First, it is software that processes point cloud data taken from LiDAR or photogrammetry scans, eliminating the need for many surveyors to go to a specific site. It uses Drone or Terrestrial Laser Scanner data that helps in making sure that an area can be scanned no matter where it is located.
The second is that it greatly helps in saving time. The week to month-long processing or calculation of measurements gets reduced to mere minutes or hours with the use of the strong post-processing software. This will help you focus on other workloads that require more attention.
Lastly, is that ScanX is a web-based application that only requires a computer and working internet connection to function. This makes site-to-office communication and collaboration a breeze. Data can be viewed simultaneously even in various parts of the world.
Built-in Canopy Metrics for Point Cloud in Forestry
One thing that forestry industries will greatly benefit from in ScanX is canopy metrics and segmentation. Co-developed with Mr. Itakura from the University of Tokyo, forestry data such as trunk measurements and canopy diameters can be automatically calculated with just a single click in our application.
ScanX: Best Forestry Point Cloud Processor
Want to reduce time, improve efficiency, and increase accuracy in your forestry scans?
ScanX is the best application for you! Come and experience new frontiers with our product, and together, let us push your industry to greater heights.