Have you ever wanted to get a sample from the top of a tree, without having to climb it or shoot it out with a shotgun? Would it be cool to place a sensor or trap in the canopy of a tree to gather data or insects?
The tree canopy, in our cities and forests, is one of the least explored major habitats in the world, despite being just a few meters over our heads. Our ability to explore this critical space in our natural and urban ecosystems is currently limited. With the rapid advance in UAV and robotics technology, we can finally develop tools for rapid and cheap sampling and sensing.
The Center for Tree Science at the Morton Arboretum and the Robotics Lab at the Illinois Institute of Technology are planning a virtual workshop on the development and invention of UAV-based tools and sensors for studying the tree canopy. We will organize a virtual 'brainstorming' workshop that will bring together scientists, conservation biologists, arborists, engineers and roboticists to hash out a new vision for tree canopy tools and to establish priorities and create collaborations. The workshop will likely be held in early Dec 2020.
As an initial step, we invite you to participate in a survey to gather information and interests from the community at large. Currently, we have over 180 responses from a broad range of perspectives (62% study trees; 16% associated organisms; 8% are tree care professionals; 3% engineers; 10% have other related interests - while 59% work at a university; 14% non-profit; 12% government agency; the rest work independently in some fashion). And these folks work in a wide variety of environments as well.