Bluesky Tree Map Helps Identify Diseases in UK Trees

Posted by er134 at Jul 22, 2014 11:09 AM |
University of Leicester-led project to investigate the use of airborne mapping systems to identify diseases in trees

Issued by Bluesky on 22 July 2014

Bluesky, creator of the first ever National Tree Map, is working with researchers at the University of Leicester to investigate the use of airborne mapping systems to identify diseases in trees. The health of UK forestry has been in the news for many years with Sudden Oak Death, Dutch Elm and more recently Ash Die Back and Red Band Needle Drop all generating headlines. Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and supported by Forest Research, the study will investigate the use of aerial photography, thermal imaging and airborne laser mapping systems to improve the identification of diseases, determine the accuracy of identification and inform responses to disease outbreaks.

James Eddy, Technical Director and Industrial Associate at the University of Leicester commented, “This project will place the UK at the forefront of research into the devastating effects of disease on our most valuable but declining natural resource. From it we can develop new applications and solutions for deployment around the world.”

The research project will be led by Professor Heiko Balzter who has over 17 years’ experience in remote sensing and ecological modelling. Professor Balzter, holder of the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, is Director of the Centre for Landscape and Climate research at the University of Leicester. He added, “Remote sensing offers new approaches for the rapid large area mapping of tree disease outbreaks. By working with Bluesky, in partnership with Forest Research, we can use a state of the art aerial mapping system to collect data for already infected trees and compare this with data for healthy sites nearby and historic, pre diseased, baseline data.”

It is hoped that the impact of this research will help protect the British landscape. Forest Research will benefit by gaining new insights into the patterns and effects (epidemiology) of disease producing pests and microorganisms (pathogens) allowing faster response times to outbreaks. It is anticipated it will also allow for the more effective containment of infections preventing the spread of disease between forested areas. Dr Juan Suarez, Project Leader Remote Sensing Applications at Forest Research and co-supervisor on the project added, “By spatially recording the levels of stress in different parts of a forest we can more effectively target field inspections potentially catching outbreaks before they spread.”

Local authorities, utility companies and transport operators are all predicted to gain benefit through the early identification and targeted felling of potential unsafe trees. The general public will also benefit from increased protection against invasive plant pathogens and the safeguarding of the UK’s biodiversity.

The research project is funded by, NERC through the Industrial CASE Studentship programme. CASE (Collaborative awards in science and engineering) Studentships provide doctoral students with a first-rate, challenging research training experience, within the context of a mutually beneficial research collaboration between academic and partner organisations in the private, public and civil sectors.

 

CONTACTS:

www.bluesky-world.com

http://www.bluesky-world.com/#!national-tree-map/c1pqz

Editor’s Notes:

This project builds on the work of Bluesky in the creation of the first ever National Tree Map. Created from the most up to date, high resolution aerial photography, colour infrared data and detailed height models Bluesky’s National Tree Map includes three individual map layers, detailing more than 280 million trees with a canopy cover in the region of 20,000 square kilometres – around 13.5 per cent of land cover! National Tree Map data is already in use in a number of Local Authorities, commercial organisations and academic institutions with interest also being shown from Central Government agencies and utility companies.

Bluesky is a UK-based specialist in aerial survey including aerial photography, LiDAR and thermal data using the very latest survey technology, including an UltraCam Eagle and an Orion M300 LiDAR system.  An internationally recognised leader with projects extending around the globe, Bluesky is proud to work with prestigious organisations such as Google, the BBC and Government Agencies.

Bluesky has unrivalled expertise in the creation of seamless, digital aerial photography and maintains national “off the shelf” coverage of aerial photography, DTM and DSM through an on-going 3 year update programme.  By purchasing a World first sensor for the simultaneous capture of LiDAR, Thermal and Aerial Photography data Bluesky is in the enviable position of being able to provide customers with unique and cost effective solutions.

Bluesky is also leading the way in developing innovative solutions for environmental applications including the UK’s first National Tree Map (NTM), solar mapping and citywide ‘heat loss’ maps and is currently developing noise and air quality mapping products. www.bluesky-world.com

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