Demonstration of a mobile application for estimating forest canopy closure using digital photographs

From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)

Project submitted by: Annette Schloss, UNH
This project will demonstrate using mobile devices as scientific instruments that can be used by students, professionals, and citizens for collecting and analyzing high-quality data. The project will create a demonstration application for a tablet (either Apple or Android OS) that will allow the user to take a digital photograph in the UP direction and analyze the photograph to estimate forest canopy closure. The project will engage undergraduate student programmers in developing and testing the app under the direction of the project leaders. The analysis algorithm will be based on pixel color and brightness to separate branches and foliage from sky cover. The app will create an initial estimate, and then allow the user to make modifications manually. This concept is similar to the process that has been used in the DEW Analyzing Digital Images (ADI) software package, but will allow the user to take and analyze pictures on-site. The capability to do so will enhance learning in-the-field, and if the algorithm proves commercially viable, will greatly streamline the process for foresters.