Drones in the Urban Forest, Part 2: The Potential

Figure 1
Drone making visual tree inspection. Photo by Dan Staley

In Remote Sensing and Assessment of Urban Forests with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles from the Jan/Feb 2017 issue of City Trees, author and UAVs (drones) expert Dan Staley defines terms and lays out the potential uses of this rapidly evolving technology for urban forestry inspections. He explains “how UAVs can be used for remote sensing of urban forests for risk assessment, visual inspections, pest detection, inventory data enhancement, and rapid response after disasters, among other tasks.” 

In “Drone Applications in the Urban Forest” on the DeepRoot Green Infrastructure blog, author Leda Marritz has a conversation with a Clemson University Forestry PhD candidate Brian Ritter and his advisor about their research into using drones for urban forest inventories. Ritter says, “Modern UAV systems provide a number of advantages over traditional inventory methods. Time is perhaps the biggest difference; it’s just much faster to do it aerially. It requires fewer people than a “feet on the ground” inventory. UAVs are also low cost, and provide high resolution imagery, current information, short turnaround processing, repeatability and ease of use.”

In “Come Fly with Me: Drones for Tree Assessment and Care” on the DeepRoot Green Infrastructure Blog, author Ellyn Shea summarizes a talk given by Dr. Tom Smiley of Bartlett Tree Experts. The company has been exploring using UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) for tree hazard evaluation. You can see nifty videos of UAVs/drones in action in this post and on Bartlett’s YouTube Channel.

Here’s a video of a drone examining a tree for canopy health. If you know of work that’s being done by NYS municipalities or other entities using drones in the urban forest, let us know!

 

 

 

 

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