Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Keynote for Mark Danson

Mark Danson presented an Invited Keynote Talk at the Annual Conference of the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society, hosted by the University of Aberystwyth and Environment Systems, last week. Lucy Walker also presented a paper on SALCA measurement of 4D forest phenology. Both papers were well received and there were around 150 registered delegates. The Abstract of Mark's talk is reproduced below.

Mark Danson delivering Keynote at RSPSoc 2014

Laser spotlight on forest structure
Terrestrial laser scanners (TLS) are set to revolutionise measurement of the three-dimensional structure of vegetation canopies, completely replacing manual measurements or indirect estimates of canopy structure, based on light interception. TLS record millions of range measurements of the canopy and understorey elements, in a rapid and repeatable way, and this information can be used to estimate, amongst other things, tree biomass and canopy leaf area index (LAI), and to accurately reconstruct the complete three-dimensional structure of forest stands. Early attempts to extract quantitative information on vegetation from commercial TLS data soon encountered problems related to difficulty in using the radiometric information contained in the data. In response my team at the University of Salford worked with Halo Photonics Ltd. to develop and test the experimental Salford Advanced Laser Canopy Analyser, or SALCA for short, the world’s first dual-wavelength, full-waveform terrestrial laser scanner specifically designed for measuring forest canopy structure.  SALCA provides a test-bed for better understanding the interaction of lasers with vegetation canopies, and an open-access mode of working allows research partners and collaborators to fully explore the strengths and weaknesses of different data processing and information extraction algorithms. In the presentation I will outline the origins of the SALCA instrument, talk about the trials and tribulations of instrument development, discuss examples of the applications which are now being explored and, by example, highlight the importance and benefits of collaborative working in science.