Interview: First project for Tree Inspection Plus evaluated

Oct, 2020

TreeTracker recently partnered up with De Boominspecteurs. The first project with our joint product Tree Inspection Plus has now been completed in the municipality of Hoeksche Waard. Simultaneously with the planned Tree Safety and Maintenance Inventory, a scan car drove around on behalf of TreeTracker in order to automatically map extra tree information. With a more than satisfying result for all parties involved!

 

Tree Inspection Plus

With Tree Inspection Plus, part of the tree data is automatically collected by TreeTracker. The exact coordinates, tree height, trunk diameter and crown volume are no longer estimated in this way, but measured exactly. The TreeTracker deep learning algorithm can do that better than a tree inspector could. The tree inspector then records the other data related to maintenance and safety. A wonderful collaboration between man and machine!

 

High quality information

De Boominspecteurs have been carrying out the tree inspection for the municipality of Hoeksche Waard for a year now. The municipality arose 2 years ago from a merger. “During the kick-off meeting, De Boominspecteurs suggested to do a pilot with Tree Inspection Plus,” explains José van Vilsteren, tree manager at the municipality of Hoeksche Waard. “We agreed. As a young municipality, we are open to new developments, and we wanted to contribute to this. A merger means that different administrative information systems have to be merged. For us, Tree Inspection Plus was a great way to organize and supplement our tree data. We are happy with the result.”

 

Lessons learned

During their inventory round, the tree inspectors immediately checked the data collected by the scan car. That also provided learning points, says Michel van Ingen of De Boominspecteurs. “Sometimes the intelligent software was just not intelligent enough. Makes sense of course, because we have just started the joint product. For example, the software views a tree as a trunk with a crown. A weeping willow, where the trunk is not visible because the branches hang to the ground, was initially not recognized as a tree. And with a young tree with tree poles, the trunk diameter is sometimes incorrectly calculated. This provided great input for the TreeTracker development team. They have now found a solution for this and took action.”

 

Huge data set

“We also learned a lot about how the process works technically,” Michel continues. “All those trees were of course already in a database. By performing the scan, we were able to further optimize the accuracy of the trees and record them at the exact coordinates. This enormous amount of new data then had to be read back into the municipality’s database structure. In the right format and linked to the right tree. That went well and we are proud of that.”

 

New developments

De Boominspecteurs will focus even more on Tree Inspection Plus. New projects are already being started up. A municipality can immediately reap the benefits of good information, says Michel: “High quality information provides clarity, which minimizes discussions about tree heights and trunk diameters. And there are many more possible applications for using the data. For example, the software calculates the crown volume, an important parameter that can be used to calculate the ecosystem services of trees, such as CO2 storage and water capture. Insight into these aspects helps municipalities to steer towards achieving climate goals. Applications are also conceivable in spatial developments around trees. In the near future we will work together with TreeTracker to translate this into a new product.”