Case Study

Tree Modelling and Feature Extraction Using Mobile Mapping

GenMap created a digital twin of Mendoza’s green infrastructure by quickly identifying one million trees and using Bentley’s mobile mapping technology to digitalise, geo-reference, and obtain the dimensions of each tree, as well as surrounding roads and sidewalks, allowing efficient management of the health condition of each tree.

The city of Mendoza, Argentina, was built entirely in a desert. As such, its trees play a vital role as an effective and natural tool to combat the impacts of climate change at an urban scale. The trees make the city more resilient to floods, storms and heatwaves, help to regulate air quality, and make it more healthy, liveable, and attractive to communities. Shade provided by trees can also suppress pavement deterioration as a result of constant sun exposure.

However, if urban trees are not well maintained, they can pose risks to power lines, nearby buildings, and residents, turning an environmental asset into a liability instead. With precise measurements of trees and surrounding infrastructure, ground-level data can guide efficient urban planning in tight spaces, preventing such incidents.

To enhance ongoing road and sidewalk maintenance, the local government of Mendoza, together with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), funded a project to efficiently identify one million trees using mobile mapping technology. The project, led by GenMap, involved building a digital twin of Mendoza’s green infrastructure to digitalise, geo-reference, and obtain the dendometry attributes (tree height, trunk height, trunk diameter, tree inclination, tree crown diameter) for each individual, as well as surrounding roads and sidewalks.

In just four months of semi-automatic processing, GenMap carried out the census of the public road trees of the Mendoza Metropolitan Area, identifying the precise location of the implantation site of each tree together with other geometric and dendrometric data. Although challenging due to no previous data existing and no record of conducting this type of survey before, the digital twin was able to establish controls to identify possible problems and diseases in the trees generated by their proximity to urban centres or other causes.

GenMap used Bentley Systems’ ORBIT 3DM (now iTwin Capture Manage & Extract), leveraging the Orbit 3DM Automated Feature Extraction Extension), to quickly and accurately analyse, study, and extract these trees, processing more than 6,000 linear kilometres of mobile surveys and more than two million image captures. Once integrated into the Geographic Information System (GIS), the data made it possible to efficiently manage the health condition of each tree from both environmental and safety scopes.

From an economic perspective, the methodology produced a 38% decrease in the project’s total cost.

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