Hamish Marshall, Jonathan Dash and David Herries from Interpine recently lead a workshop series in collaboration with Future Forest Research and SCION. This covered the use of Remote Sensing for Resource Assessment, and was held in Christchurch and Rotorua. Interpine’s involvement focused on recent research work and case studies which have been led by Interpine in the operational use of LiDAR for resource assessment in New Zealand.

Hamish Marshall presented an overview of LiDAR use in forestry with general considerations for operational implementation, specifically sample design, analysis, optimal point density. Hamish also lead a hands-on workshop with participants using the USDA’s LiDAR analysis tool FUSION for data analysis.

Jonathan then presented the results of a recent case study in Kaingaroa Timberlands, looking specifically at replacing traditional inventory systems with a LiDAR approach using K nearest neighbor analysis techniques (k-NN). This has now led to the largest scale implementation of LiDAR use in New Zealand forestry (watch this space for more information). Key to these techniques of using LiDAR have been the development of pathways into our current yield prediction systems and data warehousing, meaning little or no change to current estate modelling and yield table systems such as YTGEN, GeoMaster or use of estate modelling tools like Tigermoth or Woodstock.

The case study work also resulted in the development and implementation of sampling error calculation for use in combination of k-NN imputation with LiDAR datasets.   This means any area of interest can have a sampling confidence provided to enable the consumer of yield information to have confidence in the applicability of the data.


Interpine’s background in LiDAR dates back to the first commerical use of LiDAR in forestry industry in NZ for the LUCAS Project survey in 2007.   Interpine continues to provide forest industry training on LiDAR analysis and implementation.

If you would like to know more about this research work, science reports are published by Future Forest Research or come and talk to our team about how you can take LiDAR operational for your own resource assessment.