Using LiDAR and imagery to map tree canopy for an entire state

Our colleague Jarlath O’Neil-Dunne and his team at the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab presented on An Object-Based Approach to Statewide Land Cover Mapping at the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 2014 Conference in Louisville, KY.

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley signed a bill in 2013 to keep Maryland at 40% tree canopy state-wide, and requiring assessments every five years to monitor compliance (this is a first nationally; Gov. O’ Malley , as Mayor of Baltimore, was also first Mayor to commit to a tree canopy goal setting effort under the Chesapeake Bay Program).

The State of Maryland reached out to O’Neil-Dunne and his team to develop methods and take the baseline measurements. Those methods are described in this paper. The process in very brief (!) looks like this:

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Thanks to Jarlath for recognizing us in the Acknowledgements section of this paper. To keep up on Jarlath’s leading work in the field of remote sensing, follow his blog, Letters from the SAL