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Denton Pioneers Use of AI and LiDAR Technology for Comprehensive Urban Tree Management

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The City of Denton’s Parks and Recreation Department has enlisted the assistance of Greehill, a leading green tech firm, to conduct a detailed inventory of local trees situated within parks, city properties, and public rights-of-way. The project, set to launch on June 26, is a groundbreaking initiative aimed at promoting effective management, sustainable planning, and the fostering of a healthier, greener urban environment.

The innovative operation will utilize a state-of-the-art, mobile LiDAR (light detection and ranging) system, similar to those used by NASA. Equipped with cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence, the system will provide a detailed three-dimensional digital twin of each tree. Attributes such as tree diameter, crown height, species, condition, and location will be captured and cataloged, creating a comprehensive and advanced inventory. Further, each tree will be assigned a unique ID number, and its economic value will be calculated.

Urban Forester Haywood Morgan, overseeing the inventory and tree management for the City, said, “The complete inventory of trees managed by the City will enable effective management, sustainable planning, and the promotion of a healthier, greener urban environment. We are thrilled to be one of the first in the nation to conduct this type of advanced and informative inventory for our community.”

The Greehill team, headed by CEO Gabor Goertz, expressed excitement over the project. “We are very excited that the Greehill team will drive through Denton’s streets and provide the city with the most advanced digital public tree inventory,” Goertz stated.

The integration of LiDAR technology allows for data collection to be not only more precise than traditional manual methods, but also significantly quicker, with the year-one data expected to be collected within a span of just 30 days. Additionally, a second data set will be collected in the third year, which will provide valuable insights into the growth patterns of public trees.

Gary Packan, the Director of Parks and Recreation, emphasized the crucial role that the tree inventory plays in resource allocation. He stated, “A tree inventory helps our staff make decisions on how to direct our financial and staffing resources to maintain our urban tree canopy. The integration of the LiDAR technology speeds up the data collection process while gaining critical information, such as growth patterns, with each updated inventory by creating a digital twin of each of our trees in which we manage. We are excited to integrate this new technology to our Parks system by using best practices to improve the services to our residents.”

This initiative positions Denton as a pioneer in leveraging advanced green technology for environmental sustainability and improved urban planning.

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