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Case Study

Detecting tree height with LiveEO

Enabling LiveEO to determine the height of trees surrounding railway tracks.

Customer

LiveEO is an award-winning, Berlin-based startup committed to improving life on Earth using technology in space. Their clients rely on high-resolution satellite observations of the planet to solve their unique infrastructural challenges. LiveEO’s mission is to bring space data into the business world.

Challenge

One of LiveEO’s client needs involved mapping railway tracks across Germany and measuring the height of trees that line them, in order to assess the risk of trees falling on the tracks. The German railway system consists of 33000 kilometers of tracks - which need to be monitored. The availability and resolution of radar data sources with the required wavelengths that LiveEO had access to was too low to accurately detect the height of trees.


Between 2015 and 2017 alone there were over 830 train collisions with vegetation caused by storms, costing millions.


Operators such as Deutsche Bahn can now save around 25 percent of their operational expenses by improving efficiency.

Solution

We provided LiveEO with optical images of the planet taken by Airbus’ Pléiades satellite. The Pléiades satellite constellation is comprised of two very high-resolution optical Earth-imaging satellites that provide coverage of the planet with a repeat cycle of 26 days. This high-resolution satellite data was in the form of stereoscopic images, allowing LiveEO to compare and derive height profiles of trees from it.

Result

We enabled LiveEO to easily access high-resolution stereoscopic optical imagery from Airbus’ Pléiades satellite. As a result, LiveEO can run its tree height detection algorithm, generate a digital surface model, and scale up their analysis to cover the whole of Germany and beyond.

Being able to accurately detect tree height near railway lines improves safety, identifies high and low-risk trees and reduces the cost of tree clearing.

LiveEO now provides its clients with accurate tree height measurements that have a real-world impact when analyzing risk near railway tracks. Being able to accurately detect tree height near railway lines improves safety, identifies high and low-risk trees and reduces the cost of tree clearing.

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