Lidar Based Tree Inventories and 3D Photogrammetry Technology

Lidar Based Tree Inventories and 3D Photogrammetry Technology

Lidar Based Tree Inventories Photogrammetry

Lidar News is interested in how innovative companies and individuals are leveraging advanced technologies for enhanced visualization and improved modeling and design outcomes. For this Q&A Feature, Lidar News Founder Gene Roe interviews Geoff Lawless, Registered Professional Forester at Forsite.

  1. Can you please provide a brief overview of your professional background (s) and experience, particularly with 3D technologies and visualization, and/or a brief history of the growth of the company and its use of 3D technology? Please include an idea of the timelines.
  • Geoff Lawless, RPF
  • Inventory Forester and Photo Interpretation Team Lead at Forsite Consultants – forsite.ca
  • Offices throughout Canada with corporate office based in Salmon Arm, BC.
  • Registered Professional Forester (RPF) in BC, and certified photo interpreter in three Canadian provinces
  • 15+ years of photo interpretation experience, and 9 years of working with lidar and stereo photography together.

Starting as a Photo Interpreter at Forsite in 2016, I began working alongside partner, Object-Raku, utilizing their proprietary individual tree inventory software, TSI (Tree Species Identifier), to develop high-tech forest inventories within British Columbia. Since Object-Raku’s merge with Forsite in summer 2019, we have grown to annually complete individual tree and area-based forest inventories on millions of hectares for forestry, First Nations, and utility clients throughout Canada, the United States, and most recently Europe. The growth of the inventory department within Forsite has been incredible. Growing from essentially myself to over twenty employees, our team now includes data analysts, programmers, software developers, lidar and satellite specialists, and a team of photo interpreters. All fundamentally using and basing their work on data captured using KELYN3D PluraView technology to drive workflows and ensure the highest quality final deliverables for clients.

  1. Can you provide an inventory of some of the primary 3D surveying and mapping hardware and software that your company currently uses, as well as any other related products? Please include an idea of the timeline of purchases. 

Software: The primary 3D surveying and mapping software Forsite uses is DAT/EM Summit Evolution with ESRI products for photo interpretation in addition to Amazon AWS and S3 services, and occasionally Global Mapper.

Hardware: In addition to the KELYN3D PluraView monitors, the primary 3D surveying and mapping hardware Forsite uses for photo interpretation are Intel Xeon machines with a minimum 32 GB of RAM (you can never have enough RAM!), x64-based processor and 64-bit Windows operating system. Graphics cards are NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 or better. 

  1. What attracted you to KELYN3D and the KELYN3D PluraView monitors? Did you look at other products? Why did you choose KELYN3D and KELYN3D PluraView?

Forsite previously used the NVIDIA 3D software and hardware suite but started looking for alternatives once the software was no longer supported and replacement hardware became difficult to find. We started researching alternatives and based on referrals from both contacts in the industry and our DAT/EM Summit software vendor at Techport Service Ltd., we made the decision that the KELYN3D PluraView setup was the best way forward for our company. We started out by ordering one , and then two more the following year for remote employees. Setup by remote employees was easy and successful with new machines provided by our IT team, and we are budgeting to order more this coming fiscal. KELYN3D were easy to deal with and having a distribution point within North America assured us that shipping times would be short, and assistance would be available during our usual work hours. 

  1. How are you integrating Kelyn3D products into your workflows? What were some of the challenges with that? What were some of the best practices and lessons learned?

KELYN3D products are integrated into nearly every step of our workflow. 3D technology is used by our interpreter team to develop and validate field sampling programs, lidar prediction models, satellite prediction models, and our final deliverables. Perhaps most importantly, KELYN3D PluraView 3D technology is used in the quality assurance steps at each stage of our workflow. The ability to view model attributes and outputs spatially, in any location, within minutes is vital to the success of our business. 

The integration of KELYN3D technology in our workflows was seamless in terms of hardware integration, due in part to both the quality of the hardware and our excellent IT team within Forsite. The biggest challenge to overcome was perhaps for the interpreters, as seeing stereo imagery flicker-free on 4k monitors is quite overwhelming at first! 

  1. Can you provide a brief overview of two or three of the projects where you made use of Kelyn3D and KELYN3D PluraView technology? Can you provide any thoughts on time savings vs. other methods? Any thoughts on return on investment?

For the entire interview please CLICK HERE.

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