Seeing a forest in 3D

13 September 2022

In late 2021, Scion and Interpine partnered to acquire and explore the Hovermap AL2.

Since our early trials of applying the AL2 prototype to forests with #Emesent back in 2019, this ground-breaking technology is now becoming a commercial reality.

This smart mobile scanning unit can be mounted to a drone to provide autonomous mapping in hard to reach environments. It has the ability to assist in flying a drone beyond visual line of sight and communication range— even in challenging GPS-denied environments. This makes it the optimal tool for accessing and seeing our forests in ways that have not been previously possible.

With integrated LiDAR (“light detection and ranging”) it uses eye-safe laser beams to “see” the world in 3D, providing machines and computers with an accurate representation of the surveyed environment.

This enables us to scan a forest, from the ground or the air to capture and process a tree’s diameter, form, quality and height. From the air it can see through a forest’s canopy to derive both ground and vegetation #3D models.

This mapping coupled with location technology means we can get the exact position of individual trees. This enables us to realise our goal of moving from viewing and measuring our estates based off averages to being able to see individual trees, unlocking a forest of one.

This is a critical tool for our research at Scion. It will support our new five-year MBIE Endeavour funded project  “Seeing the forest for the trees: transforming tree phenotyping for future forests” and continue to support our ongoing programme Resilient Forests as well as supporting the efforts of commercial partners who are looking to operationalise precision forestry research.

Interpine can provide estimates on request for a specific project, or on a volume of work or hire period. This can include staff collecting and/or processing the data either on the ground or by drone, both in NZ and Australia.