Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Phriday photo quiz answer: LIDAR @ Yosemite Forest Dynamics Plot

The image:

(Seriously, zoom in. It's v. cool!)

The guesses:
PatioPatch: ... it's like a field of daisies but because a plane was involved thought it could be a shot of snow topped trees in a forest. Otherwise it's snow flakes on the window. Laura [bb: awesome image, lovely! and yes, it IS trees!]

Johnny Nutcase: ahhh! it looks like something created by arcmap!!!??! but it's cool fancy! [bb: Yes, it IS mapping, for sure, and I assume arcmap could handle it one way or another, and possibly the overlay of the 2 data types was created by arcmap?]

Cindy: umm, it's either a field of bicolor gilias [bb: what a LOVELY guess!] or a tree survey being conducted by aliens via aerials. [bb: TOTALLY a tree survey via aerial flight! AWESOME! I don't think the P.I. is an alien, though, except maybe when he's traveling in Canada?]

mainly mongoose (Lynda): A macro photo of my tongue, the morning after the night before. [bb: totally wins funniest answer! =)]

The answer:
This extremely cool image is from Jim Lutz (got PhD in Jerry F. Franklin's shop, for Pete's sake! IF you don't know Dr. Franklin is forestry LEGEND), who is running the Yosemite Forest Dynamics Plot.

This is a "LiDAR image with big tree boles."

LIDAR is this really cool mapping technique (at least the kind biobabbler knows about) where a plane flying over a landscape shoots laser beams down at the landscape, then measures the reflected light bouncing back up to the plane. The resulting image had REALLY precise shape and elevation information for everything down there.

Like laying a gossamer blanket on the landscape and measuring the height of the blanket at millions (my assumption) of tiny points.

speaking of blankets....

Makes me drool.

Jim's image includes... "All 489 living trees with diameter 1 m or larger [bb: the dots], superimposed on the LiDAR canopy model [bb: the grey landscape]."

It's just one of the many measures they're making at this plot. There's lots of participants in this amazingly ambitious project.

The timeline for this project? Forever. Seriously.

And the Yosemite Forest Dynamics Plot web page has an aMAzing stem map of "13,477 living trees and snags" that is not to be missed.

Super ambitious project, so I encourage you to check out this project if you have any interest in forest ecosystem dynamics. And think how smart you'll sound at your next social mixer! =)

xoxo biobabbler


  1. That was soooo cool. I thought snow covered trees, but then with the dots, I was completely thrown! Alien spaceships? I thought... I zoomed in, I zoomed out, I even tried to cheat, but came up with nada! thanks for sharing!


Cool people write inside rectangles....