In forestry practices, Image-Based Point Clouds can help foresters obtain information about three-dimensional forest vertical structures usually through the use of airborne laser scanning. There is a growing interest in this methodology of obtaining and using the data obtained to more accurately monitor forest inventories. It is less expensive than completing assessments by foresters in the field and may be more accurate.
A paper published this year in Australia by C. Spits, L. Wallace, and K. Reinke; Investigating surface and near-surface bushfire fuel attributes: provides a comparison between visual assessments and Image-Based Point Clouds, and explores the differences in accuracy between using a visual assessment by an individual in the field using a standard called the Overall Fuel Hazard and Assessment Guide and using a three-dimensional technique such as Image-Based Point Clouds to measure a description of the fuel structure or loading. The results of this research indicated that using the three-dimensional techniques were 2 to 8 times more accurate. This new method of collecting data about fuel loading in forests according to the paper showed promising use in helping to define fire management practices in an area where repeatable, accurate results are important to forest management.
Picture submitted by Andrew Castellani from Lacy Township, New Jersey