The Forest Inventory Analysis team received a 3 year, $150,000 grant from the Van Eck Fund of the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue. Students in Engineering, mentored by faculty in Engineering and Agriculture, will design a system for using video images to extract information about the size and architecture of forest trees.
A description of the prototype of the system has already been accepted for publication in the (refereed) internationally recognized Journal of Forestry. The current group of undergraduate researchers will improve the system by developing software tools to quantify the shape and size of trees and their branches in real time. The goal of the project is to develop a tool that non-expert users can deploy to inventory forests so that their ecological and economic value can be estimated without the need for costly, slow, and labor-intensive hand measurements.