Offering High Value, Low Cost Geoinformatics for Land Managers
Forest managers in Maine have identified lack of broad-scale, up-to-date geospatial information about forest and landscape conditions relevant to forest management or conservation actions as a barrier to planning and prioritization.
We have developed sophisticated machine learning algorithms that provide near real time, highly accurate geospatial information about forest attributes of high relevance to forest management, scalable to large areas using satellite imagery and USFS FIA plot data.
HOW IT WORKS
Our mapping approach combines the strength of Support Vector Machines (SVMs) to model complex, nonlinear relationships based on limited training data with the adaptability of a Genetic Algorithm (GA). We use this framework to generate many candidate models relating reference data from inventory plots (e.g., species basal area) to a broad suite of predictors derived from satellite imagery and other sources (e.g., digital elevation model). Check out the slideshow below for an overview of current/future IGS products.
The GA guides the evolution of models to simultaneously increase accuracy and reduce bias, an important source of error that causes systematic over- or under-prediction. Whereas other prediction methods have either ignored bias or treated it as uncontrollable, the minimization of bias is built into our modeling framework. And by simultaneously generating many hundreds of candidate models, we can select specific models or blend multiple models to tailor predictive performance to specific user needs, avoiding the pitfall of assuming that one map fits all users. Our methods are highly adaptive and highly efficient, reducing production time and cost.
Tree species biomass, species relative abundance, species associations, forest types, wildlife habitat suitability, disturbance history, canopy change and annual updating.