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Unique experiment proves that forest roadworks can be improved with 3D modelling

In a unique pilot project, The Finnish Forest Centre, Tieto and Geotrim mapped the condition of forest roads.

13 December 2018

In a unique pilot project, The Finnish Forest Centre, Tieto and Geotrim mapped the condition of forest roads using a new laser scanning technique that provides exact 3D data of the roads using laser beams. The method provides more accurate information about the forest roads and their condition. This enhances the planning and implementation of road maintenance.

The innovative pilot exploited mobile, laser scanning technology used in infrastructure building. It investigated how the collected data and information processed from it can be used when planning forest road maintenance and how the review and monitoring processes of forest roads can be digitalized. The pilot also provided information about utilizing automation in building forest roads.

“The condition of forest roads has aroused a lot of conversation lately from the perspective of securing our wood supply. The results from the pilot were very promising, and we received very useful information to be used when, for example, reviewing the condition of forest roads and their refurbishment”, says Project Manager Jussi Pasanen from The Finnish Forest Centre.

The condition of forest roads was investigated using lasers attached to a car and a remote-control drone. The pilot was conducted on five forest roads in Lapua and Kauhava, Finland, last spring. The laser-captured measurements and images of the forest roads clearly shows the deep ruts, holes, dents and stones that have been brought up by freezing and thawing. The data can be used with a GIS program to for example, measure the width of the road or determine if there is enough space for a wood truck to turn.

More efficient wood transport through data

The data and images collected with the laser technology has many uses in the future. From the data, the problematic areas and their exact locations can be identified, which simplifies planning and execution of forest road refurbishment.

“The scanning technique provides a huge amount of data about forestry work. From this, we can automatically produce information for different kinds of uses. The data can reveal, for example, the portions of forest roads that need refurbishment or are problematic for timber transport, and thus the wood logistics can be enhanced. Or the data can be used to produce a video presentation for a meeting of the road cooperatives to inform decision making about forest roads”, says Juha Malinen, Senior Consultant at Tieto.

The data also benefits the planning of timber transport in the future. Automated wood transport vehicles need accurate location data about the forest road network. Laser scanning of forest roads is one opportunity for providing this information.

The survey of forest road conditions was conducted as a part of the Finnish government's initiative to increase the movement of timber and find new products from the forest.

Further information:

Juha Malinen
Senior Consultant
Tieto Oyj
+358 40 837 8967

Jussi Pasanen
Project Manager
The Finnish Forest Centre
+358 50 314 0402

Tieto aims to capture the significant opportunities of the data-driven world and turn them into lifelong value for people, business and society. We aim to be our customers’ first choice for business renewal. In addition to our expertise in software and professional services, we also take strong advantage of ecosystem and innovation possibilities.  

The Finnish Forest Centre is tasked with promoting forestry and related livelihoods, advising landowners on how to care for and benefit from their forests and the ecosystems therein, collecting and sharing data related to Finland's forests and enforcing forestry legislation. The Finnish Forest Centre operates under the guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.  




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