TerraScan: Tree Database Tools


Commonly, municipalities are responsible for the management of trees in public spaces, such as parks, the landscape of city buildings, along streets, and in road medians. These trees need to be located, identified, measured and monitored over time. With this information, the city can evaluate and sustain the health and safety of their trees and their surroundings. In the past, to gain this information required massive amounts of manpower and time. Using LIDAR, either aerial, mobile or drone based systems, several pieces of information that can inform the city’s tree database can be quickly extracted with ease and precision. TerraScan’s tree tools can contribute to this database by providing tree locations, heights, and width, among other attributes derived from a point cloud and associated imagery.  This information is captured and stored in the design file by creating representative tree cells at the locations of the trees and then outputting the information into a table suitable for ingestion into the database tool.


Before creating the tree cells, some preparation work needs to be done.  First, 3D tree cells need to be created within a MicroStation cell library. Terrasolid provides some example 3D cells for this purpose (Figure 1). Upon installation of TerraScan, a cell library located in C:/terra/cell/karttali.cel contains these cell templates.

Figure 1: Right-Cell KOIVUD; Left-cell KUUSID; tree cells from the Karttali cell library.

Second, TerraScan needs to know which tree cells to assign to which tree species. For example, using KUUSID cells to represent coniferous trees.

Third, the point cloud needs to be prepared. We recommend using the group classification workflow. At minimum, ground needs to be classified and the trees need to be in a separate class with unique group numbers assigned.

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