About Amerisurv| Contact    
Magazine | Newsletter    
Flickr Photos | Advertise    
HomeNewsNewsletterAmerisurv DirectoryJobsStoreAuthorsHistoryArchivesBlogVideosEvents
 
advertisement


Subscriptions
Rendezvous
Please Join Us . . .
At Historic Concord, MA
Visit Minuteman Park, Walden Pond, and the Old North Bridge.
Details:
SurveyorsHistoricalSociety.com
Rendezvous
Sponsored By

Software Reviews
Continuing Series
     RTN
An RTN expert provides everything you need to know about network-corrected real-time GNSS observations.
Click Here to begin the series,
or view the Article PDF's Here
76-PageFlip Compilation
of the entire series
Test Yourself

Got Answers?
Test your knowledge with NCEES-level questions.
  Start HERE
Meet the Authors
Check out our fine lineup of writers. Each an expert in his or her field.
Wow Factor
Sponsored By


Product Reviews
Partner Sites

machinecontrolonline 


lbszone.com

GISuser.com

GeoJobs.biz

GeoLearn

 

Spatial Media LLC properties

Associates

ASPRS

newsnow 

Home arrow Archives   The American Surveyor     

Mapping Tree Footprints Print E-mail
Written by Christopher Bahr   
Friday, 25 October 2013

A 2.922Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Michael Taylor, a resident of small-town Hyampom, California, has a very unique hobby. Taylor is a member of The Native Tree Society (NTS), an interest group which includes some of the most renowned forest researchers in the world among its members. Known as "tree hunters," Taylor and other NTS members are on a search for the largest, oldest, and most unique trees in the world. According to the NTS, tree hunters aren't just looking for spectacular trees, they also "... bring back measurements, observations, and descriptions of the places they visit." And this is where Taylor's specialties lie.

Having co-discovered the tallest known tree in the world, a 379.3-feet-tall coast redwood now named "Hyperion," as well as discovering the second and third tallest trees in the world, Taylor is well-known among the tree-hunting community. His largest project currently involves co-authoring Dendromorphometry—­the Art and Science of Measuring Trees in the Field, a book all about tree measurement. Taylor is now evaluating the effectiveness of different systems for collecting various tree measurements, which will be included in the book.

In 2011, Taylor received a donated rugged handheld--the Archer Field PC®--from Juniper Systems. Taylor said of the Archer, "Upon first handling this little tank-like PDA, I got the impression I could leave it out in the woods for a year or two and it would still power up and work just fine if recovered." Loaded onto the Archer was Laser Technology Inc.'s MapSmart Field Mapping Software, designed especially for ease-of-use. Taylor uses this system to map tree footprints and to generate 3D surface point clouds for tree volume determination

So just what is a tree footprint? Imagine if you could trace around the outside edge of the bottom of a tree trunk, right along the line where the trunk meets the ground, the resultant shape that would be drawn would be the tree's footprint.

Take, for example, a former American Forests champion ponderosa pine known by the name of Bear Wallow. Taylor first collected data about the giant tree's footprint by standing at various positions around the tree, and using a laser rangefinder (the Impulse 200 LR) to collect as many survey points around the base of the tree as possible from each position. He then imported the files from the Archer to an interactive program in Excel on his laptop, where the collected data points could be tilted and rotated in three dimensions.

For comparison purposes, Taylor also mapped the footprint of a much smaller oak tree behind his home as a test to see how well the Archer/MapSmart/Impulse 200 LR system would work on a smaller scale. With much less surface area than the huge ponderosa, the smaller oak tree provided much more opportunity for error, since each error in the footprint would show up more profoundly in the survey. Taylor's logic in mapping the oak tree's footprint was, "If I can map this irregular and tiny oak tree, I feel I can map any larger tree in the forest." And he was pleasantly surprised. "The results were surprisingly good," he said. "The survey itself was much faster than expected."

The problem most people run into when surveying tree footprints is determining where the trunk ends and the ground starts. To overcome this problem Taylor used a prism and pole to project the survey to a more clearly defined position directly above the footprint point. This allowed him to create a footprint in the same proportion and shape floating above the actual ground reference point.

Another issue that may arise when mapping tree footprints is that there is a three and one-half inch off-set of scope to laser on the Impulse 200 LR. Taylor accounted for this difference by simply pointing the laser three and one-half inches above where he wanted to map a point.

To collect more measurements on the ponderosa, Taylor also used the system to create a 3D surface point cloud of the tree's trunk in order to accurately determine its volume. He did this by mapping over 2,500 data points on the surface of the trunk, and then imported the data into Excel on his laptop. Because this use was outside the sphere of the software's intended use, he found that after collecting about 800 data points, the MapSmart software began to slow down, taking much longer to calculate each point. To work around this, he conducted three separate surveys and later merged the data. This approach worked perfectly, and the resulting 3D surface point cloud is really quite remarkable.

Taylor's work in evaluating the Archer/MapSmart/Impulse 200 LR system will be addressed in the upcoming book he is co-authoring and will help to influence the way many tree hunters collect tree measurements in the future. "I have not found a better set of tools for the job," said Taylor. While his use of the system is unique, the data collection techniques he practiced are useful in many different applications. For the regular tree hunter, the system provides faster, more accurate measurements on the search for the largest, oldest, and most spectacular trees in the world.

Christopher Bahr is a technology writer in eastern Oregon, where he enjoys tinkering with electronics, kayaking, and cooking in his brick oven.

Sidebar
Equipment used:

• Impulse 200 LR
• Trupulse 360B
• MapStar angle encoder with quick-release tribrach adapter
• Turck interface cables with RS-232 adapter & remote trigger
• Heavy-duty aluminum tripod (for tribrach mount) with quickadjust sliders 
• Plumb bob  Reference tags and ground spike
• 2 Seco thumb-release tripods
• 2 extra quick-release tribrach adapters with plumb bob hooks
• Prism pole
• Seco Mini Prism & Leica 360 Degree Mini Prism
• Brackets and adapters for Archer Field PC and Impulse 200 LR

A 2.922Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

 
< Prev   Next >

 American Surveyor Recent Articles
Editorial 
Thought Leader: Land is Too Important to Be Left to Land Specialists
A while back I was searching the Internet for an old treatise on land titles. A Google query yielded a book published in 1914. The author was Charles Claudius Kagey and the book was titled "Land Survey and Land Titles, a book for boys and girls, a reference volume for property owners, a text ....
Read the Article
Jason E. Foose, PS 
Decided Guidance: Wacker vs. Price - Irony in Sevenfold
This month's case takes us to Phoenix, Arizona in 1950. The Arizona Supreme Court went all guns-a-blazin' in Wacker vs. Price (216 P.2d 707 (Ariz. 1950)). Maybe it's just me, but I'm sensing plenty of irony and have taken license to point it out along the way. I like what the Court did with this case ....
Read the Article
Allen E. Cheves 
Around the Bend - A Visit to Carlson Software
The Ohio River is one of America's greatest, running near 1,000 miles between Pittsburgh and the Mighty Mississippi. Much of the coal and other products that fueled our nation's industrial expansion flowed between the shores of this maritime ....
Read the Article
Lee Lovell, PS 
Surveying & Mapping Economics Part 3 - Customers & Services
This article continues an inquiry into the economic conditions of the Surveying and Mapping industry (NAICS 541370) using data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This time we will look at customers and services. The data comes from the Economic Census conducted every 5 years on American ....
Read the Article
Jerry Penry, PS 
True Elevation: Black Elk Peak
Black Elk Peak, located in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, is the state's highest natural point. It is frequently referred to as the highest summit in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Two other peaks, Guadalupe Peak in Texas and ....
Read the Article
Larry Trojak 
Bringing The Goods - Mobile Scanning an Integral Component
When Jim Smith, Jerrad Burns and Charlie Patton left the Memphis division of a major construction company in 2015, they took with them the knowledge of how to get even the most complex jobs done and what equipment could best serve them in making that happen. So when they joined West ....
Read the Article
 
Lee Lovell, PS 
Test Yourself 41: Integers, Integers, and Integers
ABF is a 5:12:13 triangle, ACF is a 48:55:73 triangle, ADF is a 3:4:5 triangle, and AEF is a 7:24:25 triangle, all with integer sides and inscribed in a semi-circle. What are the lengths of BC, CD, and DE? ....
Read the Article
Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM 
Vantage Point: Sunset or Sunrise?
While we often think of legislated government programs as static, they do change over time. Such evolution and opportunity for transformation are part of the dialogue in reauthorizing these programs. Every so many years there is a sunset on each government program, and this September is the ....
Read the Article
 

deliciousrssnewsletterlinkedinfacebooktwitter

Amerisurv Exclusive Online-only Article ticker
Featured Amerisurv Events
List Your Event Here
please
contact Amerisurv


Google
 
AMERISURV TOP NEWS

GeoSLAM
Engineering Predictions

GOT NEWS? Send To
press [at] amerisurv.com
INTERGEO TV
Online Internet Content

Sponsor


News Feeds

 
Subscribe to Amerisurv news & updates via RSS or get our Feedburn
xml feed

Need Help? See this RSS Tutorial

Historic Maps
Careers

post a job
Reach our audience of Professional land surveyors and Geo-Technology professionals with your GeoJobs career ad. Feel free to contact us if you need additional information.

 

Social Bookmarks

Amerisurv on Facebook 

Amerisurv LinkedIn Group 

Amerisurv Flickr Photos 

Amerisurv videos on YouTube 

twitter

 




The American Surveyor © All rights reserved / Privacy Statement
Spatial Media LLC
905 W 7th St #331
Frederick MD 21701
301-620-0784
301-695-1538 - fax