The results produced by the Centre of Excellence in Laser Scanning Research significant for society

Laser scanning scientists at work in the field. Picture: Juha Hyyppä

The scientific achievements of the Centre of Excellence in Laser Scanning Research (CoE-LaSR) have produced plenty of benefits with far reaching impact both commercially and societally. The CoE-LaSR developed innovations particularly for forestry and the built environment.

The CoE-LaSR was led by the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI) from 2014 to 2019. Other members of the CoE-LaSR were Aalto University, the University of Helsinki, and the University of Oulu. Funded by the Academy of Finland Centres of Excellence programme, the CoE-LaSR educated 30 new professors for 12 universities or research institutes, 24 doctors and 24 masters in various fields.

One of them is Joanne White who graduated as Doctor of Science during her time at the CoE-LaSR. Her scientific achievements have made her one the most highly-cited researchers of the last decade. White’s achievements include promoting the use of laser scanning in forest inventories.

The CoE-LaSR published over 400 scientific publications, many of which are significant in their field, highly cited or have attracted numerous reads. Some of them are award-winning articles published in world-class publications. In their 10 year’s review, the Remote Sensing Journal assessed the publications from the FGI and the University of Helsinki in their journal as having the highest quality, which is an excellent sign of the CoE-LaSR’s success. This means that the articles have been cited the most.

The articles written by groups of CoE-LaSR researchers surpassed articles produced by top-class universities, and internationally famous research institutes and organisations, such as NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Cutting-edge technology and open science

The CoE-LaSR also brought advances in technology, for example, new electronics for laser scanning, new laser scanning methods and systems, and new developments of the backpack laser scanner for mobile surveying. The CoE-LaSR researchers also developed and tested mini-UAV laser scanning methods based on autonomic operation. The CoE-LaSR also participated in the advancement of precision forestry, and virtualising and modelling built environment. In addition, the CoE-LaSR provided training to future laser scanning experts in the field of forestry at the Shinshu University in Japan.

‘The new research and surveying methods and the more accurate forestry data have a significant financial impact. For example, in Finland where we have a lot of forests, the savings brought by the new precision forestry technology can be up to several hundred million euros. The CoE-LaSR has significantly progressed the forest industry’s Efficient Wood Supply 2025 vision that aims to increase the efficiency of the wood value chain by 30%’, says Juha Hyyppä from FGI, who was the Principal Investigator of the CoE-LaSR.

The CoE-LaSR has promoted the openness of research and research data exceptionally well. The MeMo research group, a cooperation between FGI and the Aalto University, was awarded the first ever national open science award in 2019. MeMo was led by professor Hannu Hyyppä from Aalto University. According to a study by the Ministry of Education and Culture, FGI is the most advanced research institution in Finland when it comes to open science.

Bringing science and the business world together

The results produced by the CoE-LaSR also included several publications in the fields of trade and business. The project’s results have had significant and direct commercial and societal impacts: ten spin-off companies were born out of the CoE-LaSR that now employ almost one hundred people.

‘The societal and scientific impacts of the CoE-LaSR are far reaching and will be present in the years or even decades to come. Even with the most revolutionary advances in technology and science, it often takes years or even decades before the full impact to the society and the scientific development can be seen, says Juha Hyyppä.

Combining science and art – the result surprised with its popularity

The scientific, economic and societal achievements of the CoE-LaSR are in a class of their own. The project also yielded some unexpected results in the world of art with a doctoral thesis from the University of Helsinki. That thesis was turned into a music video.

The esteemed Science Magazine annually organises a Dance your Ph.D. contest that awards the videos that best manage to explain scientific results in creative ways. The winner of the Physics category this year was a music video submitted by Samuli JunttilaIdän Proffa – Keilaa puita feat. Linda Ilves(link is external), where Junttila, PhD in forest sciences, explains his climate-change-related research by rapping about it. Junttila is the first Finnish winner of the contest.

Plenty of other cooperation in art and culture was conducted during the CoE-LaSR’s years of operation. The MeMo research group, a cooperation between Aalto University and FGI, created 3D models of the traditional cross-country skiing routes in Lahti for Yle’s sports department, produced the first ever virtual radio play with Svenska Yle for the Helsinki Festival, enriched plays and theatre performances with augmented reality and participated in the Kutitus children’s art festival multiple times. Aalto university has also made a 3D model of the Espoo Cultural Centre to facilitate building art installations, and modelled several other cultural locations.

More information

Department Director Juha Hyyppä, juha.coelasr@gmail.com

Research Professor Antero Kukko, +358 50 409 4696, firstname.lastname@nls.fi

Professor of Measuring and Modeling for the Built Environment Hannu Hyyppä, +358 50 512 2520, firstname.lastname@aalto.fi

Professor of Geoinformatics Markus Holopainen, +358 50 448 6181 firstname.lastname@helsinki.fi

 

 

 

 

Junttila’s Dissertation published as a music video

Junttila’s Dissertation published as a music video

Our researcher Samuli Junttila’s dissertation Utilizing multispectral lidar in the detection of declined trees has been published and popularized as a music video.

The main objective of Junttila’s thesis was to investigate the capabilities of multispectral terrestrial lidar in the detection and assessment of tree decline caused by different stressors. This was done by investigating the estimation of a remotely detectable indicator of tree decline, leaf water content (LWC).

The World’s forests are facing novel stress due to climate change. Pest insects and pathogens are shifting towards new latitudes and heat stress is resulting in increased tree mortality and more frequent forest fires globally. Uncertainty in estimating the magnitude of climate change induced forest and tree decline requires new methods for unbiased estimation of tree decline.

The dissertation contributes both to the development of an objective and automatable method for detecting and measuring tree decline in the field, and to the understanding of the relationship between LWC and tree decline with implications to remote sensing.

Read more: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-651-644-1

See the Video here: http://bit.ly/idanproffa

Backpack LiDAR surveying to prepare for planet exploration in cooperation with NASA

Data captured by a KLS system

Laser scanning technology and expertise are needed in space. In recent American Surveyor article FINESSE Exploration Strategies using High-Resolution LiDAR Surveying LiDAR instruments and surveying techniques are considered integral tools in the future exploration of planets.

Today NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration (FINESSE) program’s exploration strategies are being developed using Tripod and Mobile LiDAR instruments.

Due to the extremely high costs of visiting and exploring objects in space, such as the Moon, Mars and other planets, it is crucial to find the right tools and techniques for collecting high-quality data for research. This can be done by making experiments in comparable places on Earth.

Valuable information with LiDAR

The FINESSE scientists have been exploring the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve (CRMO) in the Snake River Plain of Idaho. As a part of the cooperation CoE-LaSR research professor Antero Kukko has been performing technology demonstrations using an FGI originating backpack mobile laser scanning system Akhka-R3.

In a lava field environment the Lidar detects details often more precise than 1 cm point distribution revealing even tiny details of the surface. The collected data enables the producing of high-accuracy topographic maps and provides information on terrain roughness and morphology features of the surveyed area.

The Backpack system developed in FGI has proven to be an efficient tool for fast collection of precise information in lava fields. The findings indicate that in similar conditions, i.e. in Mars, terrestrial and mobile laser scanning are good options for collecting data for further analogy and exploration studies.

Read the full article in The American Surveyor

Picture: Antero Kukko

The FINESSE program is a consortium of more than 30 research scientists. Their goal is to generate strategic knowledge in preparation for the human and robotic exploration of the Moon, near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) and Phobos & Deimos.

Open position: Tenure track Professor in Disruptive Remote Sensing Technologies (FGI)

The Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI), Department of Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry invites applications for the position of Tenure track Professor in Disruptive Remote Sensing Technologies.

FGI is the coordinating research institute of The Centre of Excellence in Laser Scanning and has one of the best laser scanning and photogrammetry laboratories in the Europe. The Department of Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry offers an excellent opportunity to personal development and cutting edge research.

Main tasks of the Tenure track Professor include leadership of research, carrying out cutting edge research personally, leadership of demanding international and academic projects, acquisition of outside funding alone or in collaboration with other professors and group leaders and performing other expert and academic tasks in the field of disruptive remote sensing technologies.

The applications should be sent at the latest 28 Feb 2019 16:15 o’clock (Finnish Time) to kirjaamo@maanmittauslaitos.fi.

See application details

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