ForestTECH: Latest Updates
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Welcome to the first issue of the ForestTECH newsletter for this year. Good to be back at work? Amazingly, already a month of the year has flown by. To start the year, we’ve added a number of remote sensing stories to this issue - all of which were touched on as part of the ForestTECH 2017 series that ran at the back end of 2017.

In the drone or UAV space, researchers at the University of British Columbia have been using drones to investigate just how much damage the 2017 wildfire season wreaked on B.C.’s forests. In New Zealand, like Australia, drone flights have been increasing exponentially.

The number of flights recorded by Airways has jumped from 30 to around 600 each week over the past three years. Airways has just partnered with global airspace management provider AirMap to deliver the country’s first UAV traffic management (UTM) platform. It’s designed to provide flight planning and management tools for commercial and recreational UAV pilots with the three-month trial underway in the Canterbury and Queenstown regions.

The story that really struck a chord recently though was the two American companies, one manufacturing small manned planes and the other, designing and manufacturing commercial drones who have put their heads together. Work has started on designing the world’s first autonomous air tanker that’s going to be capable of delivering some 800 gallons of water or fire retardant to help fire-fighters battle wild fires.

Other stories include comparisons of airborne Lidar and photogrammetric point clouds, an update of an international study that’s reviewing recent developments of terrestrial laser scanning in plot inventories and a report on the rapid rise and projected market value (a US$45 billion industry by 2038) of agri-robots.

Enjoy this month’s tech update. Remember, if you have a story, article or link that you can share, if you have just published some research in this area and would like another platform to disseminate information to your peers or to the wider industry or if you have information on a new product or innovation that you’d like to share, get in touch by emailing:

Stories this issue:

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Autonomous air tankers for firefighting?

Firefighters may soon get another tool in the drone arsenal, as Thrush Aircraft and Drone America from an alliance to begin development of the world’s first autonomous air tanker. The Best of Planes and Drones Thrush Aircraft manufactures small manned planes; Drone America designs and manufactures commercial drones. “The new tanker is expected to blend Thrush’s large airframe and airborne ...

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Comparing Lidar & Photogrammetric Point Clouds

Airborne Lidar and photogrammetry are both viable methods for capturing point clouds for 3D modelling of man-made hard structures. Although both methods produce point clouds, the manner of capturing data differs in many ways, resulting in point clouds with differing characteristics. In this study, the researchers evaluate Lidar and photogrammetric point clouds captured from unmanned airborne systems for inspecting a ...

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Agri Robots & Drones to be a US$45 Billion Industry by 2038

Robotic technology is quietly transforming the world of agriculture. A report by IDTexchEx describes how this market will plausibly grow to become a US $45 billion industry by 2038. It also demonstrates how diverse this emerging industry is in terms of forms, functions and fortunes. Will tractors evolve towards full unmanned autonomy? Tractor guidance and autosteer are well-established technologies. In ...

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Study identifies opportunities for NSW forest owners

New research from the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has highlighted promising opportunities for 18,000 North Coast private native forest (PNF) landholders, to increase income and create new jobs through ecologically sustainable forestry operations. The study sheds light on the extent and status of the region’s privately owned forests, finding a large number of properties could be more actively ...

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Drones used to survey B.C.’s wildfire damage

Researchers at the University of British Columbia are using drones to investigate how much damage the 2017 wildfire season wreaked on B.C.’s forests. By flying the unmanned machines over B.C.’s Interior, graduate students and a professor in forestry can not only see the size of the area burned but can also use the drones’ high-resolution images to create 3D models ...

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Terrestrial laser scanning for forest inventories

Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) is an effective technique for acquiring detailed tree attributes in forest plots. During the last two decades, tremendous effort by national mapping agencies, companies, universities and research organisations has been put into developing methods for tree attribute estimation using TLS. There is, however, still a lack of proper understanding on TLS performance. Different data collection methods ...

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NZ to trial drone traffic management system

Airways is calling for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or drone, users to take part in the trial of New Zealand’s first UAV traffic management (UTM) platform. Airways has partnered with global airspace management provider AirMap to deliver the platform that provides flight planning and management tools for commercial and recreational UAV pilots. The three-month trial is taking place in the ...

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Satellite technology a game changer for NZ farmers

Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) has announced the launch of an innovative satellite technology called SPACE (Satellite Pasture and Cover Evaluation) – a giant leap forward for pasture management. SPACE uses satellite images to measure pasture, sending detailed reports directly to farmers by email. This innovative technique has the ability to save farmers several hours a week by replacing the current ...

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ForestTECH is a community and we want to hear your voice. Do you have any thoughts about the stories above? Please don't hesitate to share your thoughts with the wider community and leave a comment at the end of the story!
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