Diameter Measurements of the Upper Parts of Trees Using an Ultra-Telephoto Digital Photography System


We develop a new technique to measure the exact upper diameters of trees that is comparatively simple and inexpensive. We can measure the diameters of entire tree trunks efficiently and with high precision. The system uses a digital camera with a ~15 - 30× telephoto lens to take a photograph that can be used for measuring the diameter of the upper part of a comparatively slender tree trunk. Since this method requires a measuring distance and the height of the target point in the image, a range finder capable of measuring angles was combined with the main digiscoping system. A range finder sensor uses a laser and makes a 360 degree angle of observation possible. The diameter of a target position of the objective tree can be obtained by measuring the digital image using image editing software and calculations from spreadsheet software. We focus on the Japanese cedar species in the southwestern part of Japan. Photographic measurements were obtained prior to thinning. The estimates that we obtained largely agree with the true measurements of all trees. With regard to the estimated accuracy of all measured trees, the maximum error ratio was 7.0% (1.45 cm), with a ~2% - 4% error for most of the estimated results. Although the absolute value of the estimation error was 1.87 cm (5.3%) at the maximum (9.87 m in height and 35.5 cm in diameter), an estimation accuracy of <1 cm was reproduced in almost all measurements except for the extreme hypertrophy portion by butt swelling.

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Shimizu, A. , Yamada, S. and Arita, Y. (2014) Diameter Measurements of the Upper Parts of Trees Using an Ultra-Telephoto Digital Photography System. Open Journal of Forestry, 4, 316-326. doi: 10.4236/ojf.2014.44038.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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