Tree failures, which typically occur during severe storms, regularly cause severe disruption to transport and power networks. Operators of infrastructure networks and public spaces face the difficult task of managing the many millions of trees that are in their areas of responsibility, in order to minimise the risks of failure.
This project will exploit the emerging generation of novel aerial platforms, sensors and data analysis techniques to acquire detailed information on individual trees and their environmental context, to inform tree management decisions for a range of utility and transport companies.
The project will generate: (i) protocols for acquiring remotely-sensed data that is suitable for measuring key tree and environmental parameters; (ii) analytical procedures that can extract tree and environmental parameters accurately; (iii) effective methods for repeated monitoring of risky trees; (iv) an efficient data processing platform that will support the operational application of large remotely-sensed data sets for tree survey and inspection.
This project builds on recent research projects funded by NERC and EPSRC and has strong potential to open up new markets in the UK and overseas, in the context of tree failure risk management and more widely in arboriculture, orchard management, forestry, ecological survey and carbon accounting. To enable data collection, the student will undergo training and certification as a UAV pilot and will also benefit from all the required training in image processing and data analysis.