Accurate Geo-Referencing of Tree Stands

Case ID:
Web Published:

Technology Description

Researchers at Oregon State University have developed an algorithm and procedure for quickly and accurately geo-referencing 3D point clouds representing the lower section of the trunk that is relatively inexpensive, fast, and accurate, to less than 1 meter accuracy. The algorithm utilizes aerial images from UAVs or similar as well as ground-based images to quickly establish correlations between the point clouds created in each image set. The algorithm efficiently provides information on the crown of each tree, the size and shape of the trunk and branches, and the location of each tree, which is important for forest managers and others involved in silviculture.

Features & Benefits

  • Fast analysis (less than 1 minute for an entire stand
  • Low equipment cost
  • Accurate and precise


  • Timber harvest and management
  • Wildfire mitigation and management
  • Wildlife management

Background of Invention

Currently, many forest management decisions are based on attributes measured under the canopy, such as diameter at breast height (DBH) or height to the base of the live crown. Acquisition of the below canopy data is slow and expensive. As such, many forest management organizations have focused efforts on the usage of information from airborne or spaceborne sensors that are cost efficient for large areas. However, there has been limited success in in achieving quality data for inferring below canopy attributes from above canopy imaging. Many algorithms have been developed to estimate DBH from above canopy data with some success. However, while expected accuracy is in many instances achieved, the precision of estimating DBH from above canopy is limited, which restricts its operational usage. Similar efforts have been directed towards tree location with more success, however the accuracy tends to be measured in meters.


Patent pending


In order of appearance: Estimation of stem location and relative location of trees below a canopy.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
David Dickson
IP & Licensing Manager
Oregon State University
Bogdan Strimbu
John Sessions
Chu Qi
Photogrammetric point cloud
point matching
tree segmentation
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