Point Cloud V1 Issue 1 (Oct 2015)



The Point Cloud, AWARE’s Electronic Newsletter
Vol. 1, Issue 1. Date: 14/10/2015
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Welcome to The Point Cloud, AWARE’s electronic newsletter! We will be sending this newsletter on a monthly basis to keep you updated on all the interesting activities happening in AWARE.
AWARE (Assessment of Wood Attributes from Remote sEnsing) is a five year, $3.35M project to research the use of remote sensing in enhancing forest inventory management and improving modelling of forested ecosystems.On May 8, 2015, AWARE was signed and approved by eight participating universities, seven industrial partners and NSERC. Research funds have been received from all industrial partners, a project manager has been hired, and the first year of funding has been distributed to each of the university research groups.

In this month’s newsletter, we are profiling our new project manager, Curtis Marr, and providing an update on research conducted by one of our Phd students, Jean-Romain Roussel from Laval University working under the supervision of Alexis Achim, Martin Béland and John Carspersen (University of Toronto). He is working on the question of how structural metrics from airborne LiDAR of tree crown or stand canopies can be used to predict timber and wood attributes.

We are also recruiting an MSc student to conduct research on how wood fibre is impacted by changing site conditions.

Profile: Curtis Marr

Curtis signed on as AWARE’s Project Manager in May. Prior to this position at AWARE, Curtis worked at MDRU as a project officer. At MDRU, Curtis managed finances for approximately fifteen grants worth $1.5M annually, liaised with government funding agencies and supported researchers and students with financial and logistical expertise. With his experience at MDRU, he is well equipped to manage the AWARE project.
Previous to working at UBC, Curtis worked in geothermal exploration. He played a key role in developing a three person, basement operation into a publicly traded company employing sixteen people with a market cap of $30M. During this time, he wrote power market proposals and negotiated power purchase agreements with utilities. He also worked with US government agencies to permit exploration projects and ensure regulatory compliance.

Outside of work, Curtis is good at going to places that nobody has heard of. He has travelled to nearly 80 countries and just came back from Paraguay. While freely admitting that he will never win any awards for locution, he willingly attempts to speak French and Spanish.

Website Updates

The AWARE website is now up and running! Go to www.aware.forestry.ubc.ca to get the latest on AWARE research, recruitment and other news. The website has the entire project proposal, every research question and information on the participating companies, universities and other researchers.

MSc Opportunity

A MESc. Student at Nipissing University will develop an ecosite based model that predicts average wood density and other quality attributes for whole stems of co-dominant black spruce trees at the Ontario core site. The project will first require the development of a model predicting stand age from LiDAR estimates of stand structure and complexity, and then the fitting of age-based curves defining the trajectory of site effects over time. The results will be aggregated to polygon units to be integrated into forest inventory polygons useful for management in individual forest units.

The ideal candidate will have some background in quantitative analysis at the undergraduate level, a Bachelor’s degree in forestry, biology or geography and some experience in growth and yield modelling or forest inventory.

Nipissing University in North Bay, Ontario offers students degrees in either Master of Environmental Studies (MES) or Master of Environmental Sciences (MESc.). Both programs offer the training and development of graduates capable of contributing to the study of the environment and environmental issues and to the environmental problem solving of the future. A full description of the graduate program can be found here: http://www.nipissingu.ca/academics/graduate-studies/master-of-environmental/Pages/default.aspx

Interested candidates are encouraged to submit a cover letter and curriculum vitae by Dec. 1, 2015 to:

Dr. Jeff Dech
Associate Professor
Department of Biology and Chemistry
Nipissing University
100 College Drive
North Bay, ON, Canada P1B 8L7
Tel: (705) 474-3450 x.4701
Fax: (705) 474-1947

Project Snapshot: Jean-Romain Roussel

Jean-Romain is a PhD student from Laval University working under the supervision of Alexis Achim, Martin Béland and John Carspersen (University of Toronto). He is working on the question of how structural metrics from airborne LiDAR of tree crown or stand canopies can be used to predict timber and wood attributes.

LiDAR technology is becoming a major tool to perform semi-automatic forest inventories. But this technology is currently limited by the fact that predictive models built to evaluate the characteristics of the resource based on LiDAR datasets are typically very specific to one forest and to one set of device parameters e.g. emitted energy, flight height, emitted pulse density, flight speed, etc. It can be argued that in current practice LiDAR technology only allows users to make semi-automatic inventories. Indeed, most models need to be calibrated using a ground inventory when applied to a new LiDAR dataset, even within the same forest sampled through time. Based on this assessment, this project aims to overcome these limitations by understanding and modelling the effects of acquisition parameters on the structure of LiDAR point clouds in an attempt to build generic models that are applicable to different datasets. We are in the process of identifying metrics that are “stable” i.e. unaffected by acquisition parameters. In addition, we are working on modelling (when possible) the behavior of others metrics as functions of acquisition parameters. Doing this work will hopefully allow us to make a step towards out objective to make forest inventories more “automatic” and less dependent on ground data.

AWARE First Annual General Meeting

Book your calendars and bring your lobster bibs! The first AWARE AGM will be held on May 24-26, 2016 in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. The AGM will update attendees on the research progress to date and provide an excellent opportunity to network with AWARE researchers, government officials and representatives from our industrial partners.

More details to follow shortly!

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