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Silva Fennica 1926-1997
Acta Forestalia Fennica

Articles by Janne Sarkeala

Category: Research article

article id 1348, category Research article
Sakari Tuominen, Andras Balazs, Heikki Saari, Ilkka Pölönen, Janne Sarkeala, Risto Viitala. (2015). Unmanned aerial system imagery and photogrammetric canopy height data in area-based estimation of forest variables. Silva Fennica vol. 49 no. 5 article id 1348.
Keywords: forest inventory; aerial imagery; unmanned aerial system; UAV; photogrammetric surface model; canopy height model
Highlights: Orthoimage mosaic and 3D canopy height model were derived from UAV-borne colour-infrared digital camera imagery and ALS-based terrain model; Features extracted from orthomosaic and canopy height data were used for estimating forest variables; The accuracy of forest estimates was similar to that of the combination of ALS and digital aerial imagery.
Abstract | Full text in HTML | Full text in PDF | Author Info

In this paper we examine the feasibility of data from unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-borne aerial imagery in stand-level forest inventory. As airborne sensor platforms, UAVs offer advantages cost and flexibility over traditional manned aircraft in forest remote sensing applications in small areas, but they lack range and endurance in larger areas. On the other hand, advances in the processing of digital stereo photography make it possible to produce three-dimensional (3D) forest canopy data on the basis of images acquired using simple lightweight digital camera sensors. In this study, an aerial image orthomosaic and 3D photogrammetric canopy height data were derived from the images acquired by a UAV-borne camera sensor. Laser-based digital terrain model was applied for estimating ground elevation. Features extracted from orthoimages and 3D canopy height data were used to estimate forest variables of sample plots. K-nearest neighbor method was used in the estimation, and a genetic algorithm was applied for selecting an appropriate set of features for the estimation task. Among the selected features, 3D canopy features were given the greatest weight in the estimation supplemented by textural image features. Spectral aerial photograph features were given very low weight in the selected feature set. The accuracy of the forest estimates based on a combination of photogrammetric 3D data and orthoimagery from UAV-borne aerial imaging was at a similar level to those based on airborne laser scanning data and aerial imagery acquired using purpose-built aerial camera from the same study area.

  • Tuominen, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Economics and society, P.O. Box 18, FI-01301 Vantaa, Finland E-mail: (email)
  • Balazs, Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Economics and society, P.O. Box 18, FI-01301 Vantaa, Finland E-mail:
  • Saari, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, P.O. Box 1000, FI-02044 VTT, Finland E-mail:
  • Pölönen, University of Jyväskylä, Department of Mathematical Information Technology, P.O. Box 35, FI-40014 University of Jyväskylä, Finland E-mail:
  • Sarkeala, Mosaicmill Oy, Kultarikontie 1, FI-01300 Vantaa, Finland E-mail:
  • Viitala, Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK), P.O. Box 230, FI-13101 Hämeenlinna, Finland E-mail:

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