Pingel, Thomas J.
M.S. (Master of Science)
Department of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment
Human and natural forces continually act on urban forests to producing changes that leading to trees being removed or replanted. Therefore, to manage the urban forest effectively, periodic inventories are needed to ensure that information about the urban forest is current and comprehensive. This task has traditionally been accomplished by manual ground-based field surveys, or more recently by lidar; however, these methods are expensive, either in terms of time, labor, or cost. This project proposes a novel method of using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to more accurately measure urban tree height and trunk diameter than is currently possible using conventional approaches. This method uses Structure from Motion (SfM) processing of images captured from UAVs to derive these measurements. A comparative analysis was performed on a sample of approximately 1,000 trees testing the accuracy of these SfM measurements when compared to manually field measured or lidar based methods. Results suggest that in an urban environment the SfM method produces estimates of tree height (R2 = 0.96; RMSE = 1.91 m) and diameter (R2 = 0.98; RMSE = 3 cm) when compared to manual field measurements.
Isibue, Earle W., "Unmanned Aerial-Vehicle-Based Measurement of Urban Forests" (2019). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 7216.
Northern Illinois University
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