The feasibility of an acoustic GPS for rapid mapping of forest vegetation

Kay, David C.
Tom Wessels, MA
Department of Environmental Studies
The performance of a proposed tree position measuring system, referred to as an acoustic GPS (Geographic Positioning System), was physically simulated and evaluated in winter in a 20m square plot of deciduous forest previously mapped by Harvard Forest. The proposed instrument's acoustic attributes were simulated by using a personal computer, speakers, microphone, and custom electronics. Measurement error of the experiment was derived by computing differences to Harvard Forest data that were generated by the Interpoint mapping method of Boose, et al. Labor and cost comparisons were also made to the Interpoint and other methods. Conditional upon achieving certain instrument design goals, accuracy of the proposed instrument was projected to be comparable or superior to other methods, while requiring substantially less labor.

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