Drone data for decision making in regeneration forests: from raw data to actionable insights
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems (JUVS). 2020, 9 (1), 45-58. 10.1139/juvs-2020-0029
In this study, we aim at developing ways to directly translate raw drone data into actionable insights, thus enabling us to make management decisions directly from drone data. Drone photogrammetric data and data analytics were used to model stand-level immediate tending need and cost in regeneration forests. Field reference data were used to train and validate a logistic model for the binary classification of immediate tending need and a multiple linear regression model to predict the cost to perform the tending operation. The performance of the models derived from drone data was compared to models utilizing the following alternative data sources: airborne laser scanning data (ALS), prior information from forest management plans (Prior) and the combination of drone +Prior and ALS +Prior. The use of drone data and prior information outperformed the remaining alternatives in terms of classification of tending needs, whereas drone data alone resulted in the most accurate cost models. Our results are encouraging for further use of drones in the operational management of regeneration forests and show that drone data and data analytics are useful for deriving actionable insights. Key words: UAV, DAP, forest inventory, photogrammetry, precommercial thinning, airborne laser scanning.