UK: Carbomap, a forest mapping company has collaborated with l’Avion Jaune S.A.R.L and IRD (Institut de recherche pour le développement) in France to complete the first canopy height model of a rainforest using data from the first true UAV-ready LiDAR system (called YellowScan), an approach which has never been applied before in the tropics.
The project as a whole has a range of different objectives linked to many aspects of forest mapping, and Carbomap was involved in the generation of the canopy height model using a very high density point cloud.
Data for the canopy height model aspect of the project was collected by mounting the YellowScan system on a manned helicopter. The helicopter then replicated the flight parameters of a typical UAV drone, and provided proof of concept for this approach.
“The UAV approach is more adapted to this type of work, in comparison to the current industry standard which uses full size airplanes for Airborne LiDAR surveys, for a number of reasons. Firstly the flight altitude of a UAV is significantly lower than that of a normal surveying aircraft, which helps to overcome problems of cloud and atmospheric interference in rainforest. UAV’s also fly at much lower speeds than normal aircraft, meaning that a much higher point density can be achieved. The result is a highly cost-effective system that is especially appropriate for developing countries where airborne LiDAR is expensive to deploy,” Carbomap said in a statement issued to media.