Using UAVs for detection of trees from digital surface models


JOURNAL OF FORESTRY RESEARCH, vol.29, no.3, pp.813-821, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 29 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s11676-017-0473-9
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.813-821
  • Keywords: Tree detection, Digital surface model, Fish-eye camera, Photogrammetry, UAV, AIRBORNE LIDAR, FOREST, DELINEATION, IMAGERY, HEIGHT, CROWNS
  • Akdeniz University Affiliated: Yes


A difficult problem in forestry is tree inventory. In this study, a GoProHero attached to a small unmanned aerial vehicle was used to capture images of a small area covered by pinus pinea trees. Then, a digital surface model was generated with image matching. The elevation model representing the terrain surface, a 'digital terrain model', was extracted from the digital surface model using morphological filtering. Individual trees were extracted by analyzing elevation flow on the digital elevation model because the elevation reached the highest value on the tree peaks compared to the neighborhood elevation pixels. The quality of the results was assessed by comparison with reference data for correctness of the estimated number of trees. The tree heights were calculated and evaluated with ground truth dataset. The results showed 80% correctness and 90% completeness.