Space & Innovation

3-D Laser Scans Forest for 'Treemetrics'

Satellite images combined with LIDAR are giving forest managers a better view of their trees.

Trees are a natural resource and for anyone in the business of growing and selling lumber, getting the most for your money is key.

Plus, with only 3 trillion trees on the entire planet, no one wants to see a tree go to waste. Unfortunately about 20 percent of trees harvested are not used and end up on the scrap pile.

NASA Creating 3-D Map Of Earth's Forests

A company based in Ireland called TreeMetrics wants to change that. They are collaborating with the European Space Agency to pull in data from satellites and combine it with aerial and drone photography as well as 3-D laser scanning, also known as LIDAR.

The LIDAR system looks like a camera on a tripod and is manually placed in the forest to image the area.

It's able to produce a 360-degree scan at regular intervals that captures useful details such as the straightness and health of the trees.

Mayan City Remains Found in Forest: Photos

Data from the LIDAR system and the other tools is pulled into a Web-based program that can give a forest owner a more accurate view of the lumber potential before felling a single a tree.

"What Treemetrics aims to deliver is more wood from fewer trees," said TreeMetrics CEO Enda Keane in a press release.

via Phys.Org

Pyramidal structures, palace remains, ballgame courts, plazas and sculpted monuments have been uncovered in the Mexican jungle, revealing one the largest sites in the Central Maya Lowlands.

According to archaeologist Ivan Sprajc, the previously unknown Maya city covers more than 54 acres in the southeastern state of Campeche. Its vast size suggests the city was a seat of government between 600 and 900 A.D.

Consisting of three monumental complexes standing in the west, southeast and northeast, the site holds the remains of buildings, plazas and pyramidal structures, with the tallest one measuring more than 75 feet. Several stelae (tall sculpted stone shafts) were also found.

Associated with the stelae, several altars -- low circular stones -- were unearthed.

The archaeologists named the city Chactún, meaning "Red Stone" or "Great Stone," after one of the 19 stelae recovered so far. The inscription says that the ruler K'inich B’'ahlam "erected the Red Stone (or Great Stone ) in 751."