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Forestry Department Applies Advanced Survey Tech to Government Surveys

Forestry Department Applies Advanced Survey Tech to Government Surveys

The university is working with the government to apply smart technology towards improving the health of the forests.

Assoc. Prof Chien-Chang Chen of the Department of Forestry has put together a team to work with the Pingtung Forest Management Office on a completely new approach to forest survey operations. No longer relying on traditional methods, the team is applying advanced remote censoring technology to conduct digitized forest surveys, realizing for the first time a smart forest management model that uses UAV aerial photography technology and optical scanning systems to retain forest land information, and provide forest management personnel with comprehensive 3D data that can be used as a basis for planning follow-up operations.

For the current project evaluations will be carried out on Xiao Guan Mountain to determine the benefits of thinning and tending on tree growth. Monitoring of the erosion of forest roads will also be performed.

On May 3rd, twenty-six personnel from the Pingtung Forest Management Office arrived at NPUST to take part in a series of training activities, learning about the optical scanning system and other equipment that would be employed for the survey work. They also were trained in image recognition and analysis skills so that they would be well equipped to interpret the new data that they would be working with. 

Traditional survey methods used in the past were expensive, time consuming and laborious. Furthermore, imprecise measuring instruments or user error also affected the results of follow up research. When errors in the data were realized, they would have to return to the location to regather the information, making the correction processes cumbersome.

With UAV aerial photos and optical laser scanning systems employed, surveyors can collect accurate three-dimensional information on the terrain and its features, while also recording "on-site data" that can be repeatedly viewed to facilitate the comparison of forest growth differences before and after thinning. With forest road monitors employed, analysis of surface fluctuations can also be used to further study the impact of forest road erosion. The data can also be uploaded to the Cloud for Big Data Analysis and provide a reference for subsequent maintenance activities.

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