This Is What You See When You Scan a Forest With Lasers

Illustration for article titled This Is What You See When You Scan a Forest With Lasers

Do not adjust your monitor. This is a perfectly normal forest, but it happens to be the view that’s seen through the eyes of a 3D laser scanning system developed by a company called Treemetrics.

While the name may sound slightly whimsical, there’s a serious purpose to the scanning, which is supported by the European Space Agency. By scanning a forest using the technology, the company is able to measure the straightness and health of trees in one snapshot, allowing it to accurately estimate the quality of the logs they’d be turned into.

“What Treemetrics aims to deliver is more wood from fewer trees,” explains Enda Keane, CEO of Irish company Treemetrics, to the ESA. But in the process it also creates some very pretty images, too.



Image by Treemetrics

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The red tree looks an awful lot like the bright green tree. It does not appear to be distance from the sensor, and both are pretty straight. It would be useful when showing something like this if there were a key of some kind. Do colors indicate species or health? It’s almost as if there were information out there somewhere. Agreed that the colors are pretty, but this is being presented as a technology, so what makes it tick?