KATAM can measure the forest better than satellites

KATAM Forest has a series of tools for collecting forest data using a smartphone. Simply using the phone on location in the forest can reveal hidden valuable features.

“Today the trend is the reverse, with measurements being taken by aircraft and satellites,” says Anton Holmström, international coordinator for KATAM.

One example is laser scanning of Sweden’s forests. Holmström, who previously worked for the Swedish Forest Agency, says this produces a good picture of the forests at the regional and national level but does not work as well for individual stands, because the treetops hide the timber values.

Traditionally, a handful of different measuring tools have been used, which require training to use and then calculate the desired data.

With KATAM’s solution, the measurements and calculations are done automatically on the smartphone. The input data consists of short video recordings of a number of sample areas within the selected larger area. The calculations are based on the trees’ diameter at chest height.

“To calculate the volumes, you also have to input the heights, and to do that, we’ve developed a drone-based function,” Holmström explains.

The entire fairground area of SkogsElmia has been documented this way to produce information about every tree’s location and height.

The obvious application of this technology is to produce supporting data for forest management planning and the sale of standing timber. The technology’s simplicity encourages its use, and the collected data can then be used to pinpoint particularly profitable features, such as stands with extra valuable trees.

KATAM has been nominated for the SkogsElmia Innovation Award and will be demonstrated out in the forest during SkogsElmia on 6–8 June.


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