Urban Forestry Gets State-of-the-Art Assistance with LiDAR Technology

Advanced remote sensing technologies are providing cities and planners across the United States with new tools to assess urban tree canopy and develop more effective urban reforestation efforts.

"Researchers at the University of Vermont’s Spatial Analysis Lab and the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station are working with cities to leverage existing terrain data gathered using LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology in order to assess tree canopies," reports Liz McEnaney. "This LiDAR technology allows for an accuracy not provided by aerial and satellite images in which trees are frequently obscured by building shadows."

"These maps are overlaid with census reports, demographics, property records, and other datasets that allow cities and not-for-profits to prioritize tree-planting efforts and tree maintenance plans, but also to understand patterns of environmental justice and to justify budget increases for urban forestry programs."

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