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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  October 2013  /  If you go down to the woods today.....

If you go down to the woods today.....

Testing forest biomass using laser scanning

If you go down to the woods today.....

A team of researchers from UCL Geography and Wageningen University visited the forests of Gabon in West Africa to try out a new method of measuring forest biomass and structure using a state-of-the art laser scanning instrument.

Measuring biomass is crucial to quantifying how much carbon is stored by forests and how this might be changing. The laser data can also be used to tell many other things about forest structure and condition.

The visit was planned by Dr. Mat Disney and Dr. Simon Lewis from UCL Geography, along with Prof. Martin Herold from Wageningen University who kindly provided the laser scanner. The hard work (as usual!) was done by PhD students Andy Burt from UCL Geography, UCL MSc alumnus Kim Calders and Jose Gonzalez de Tanago (both from Wageningen), along with Dr. Aida Cuni Sanchez, a post-doctoral researcher at UCL Geography and a local team from the Gabonese National Parks Agency.

The YouTube video posted by Kim shows off the capability of the lidar beautifully - allowing us to 'fly' through the resulting 3D laser scanner data, here overlain with photographs captured simultaneously from the scanner.

While they were there the team also managed to scan local resident, Billy, - a very striking application of the scanner which went a bit viral following Simon's tweet of the pic!

See http://www.buzzfeed.com/charliewarzel/what-an-elephant-looks-like-to-googles-self-driving-car

Andy Burt has more details of the trip in his blog post on the Geography blog page: http://blog.geog.ucl.ac.uk/


Image

An elephant picked up using LiDAR


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