All the trees at SkogsElmia have been counted

Every tree on the SkogsElmia site and in the surrounding woods has been documented with orthophotos taken by drones.

“We have the precise positions and heights of more than 90,000 trees,” says Bjarne Olofsson of the company Swescan, which did the photography and analysis.


The company presented itself at the fair’s Drone Zone section. However, its business is not primarily aerial photography but rather analysing the collected data to supply an accurate picture of the situation.

“Maps and forestry plans seldom reflect reality. There are even errors in the maps of these fairgrounds,” Olofsson says.   

Swescan maps everything from quarries to churchyards throughout Sweden. In the first case, it is to measure volumes and other data; in the other, it is to measure with centimetre accuracy where it is suitable to dig new graves.

In the forest industry, there are major opportunities for gathering important information. Olofsson gives two examples. The first is to combine drone analyses with other ground-based measurements in order to produce correct standing timber volumes, which is important both for the sale of forest land and for insurance purposes.

“You can also photograph the forests once or twice a year, and with our help count all the standing trees. By repeating the photography process, you can discover and track damage, for example by bark beetles or storms,” he says.

Swescan’s experience is that the biggest potential of drones is not that they fly but that they can be used to gather data for calculations that open up totally new possibilities for the forest industry.


 “Every dot on the aerial photo is a treetop,” says Bjarne Olofsson of Swescan.
“Every dot on the aerial photo is a treetop,” says Bjarne Olofsson of Swescan.