Singapore is fascinated by trees. The island nation of 5.45 million people is home to nearly seven million trees, and manages many of them with a massive Internet facility monitoring scheme.
It’s a very Singaporean affair, as another local obsession follows everything. The city-state’s aim to become a Smart Nation includes an increasingly comprehensive master plan that uses technology to control, connect and monitor as many aspects of life as possible.
Singapore’s National Parks Board (NParks) therefore tracks trees once they reach a certain size – about six million of them – so that arborists can manage them with software.
NParks CEO Tan Chong Lee said about it Registration The agency’s team regularly visits each of the city’s trees to check their stability, but the remote tree system—along with other digital assessments—allows many other tree management tasks to be performed from the comfort of an air-conditioned office.
An NParks officer logs into TRS in the field – Click to enlarge
Singapore’s position near the equator means it is in perpetual summer, with daytime temperatures hovering around 91°F (33°C). Unless it rains an average of 167 days a year.
Singapore is managing trees by creating a digital twin – capturing LiDAR point clouds and then applying artificial intelligence to geolocate each plant.
“It actually eliminates manual effort so that our workers don’t have to go to the hill to measure all the trees – it can be done automatically through this system,” Tan said. Registration.
NParks then applies finite element models to digital twins to help the team test the overall stability of trees under different weather conditions (Singapore experiences severe tropical storms), taking into account factors such as tree architecture, tree strength and root area.
But the inspections do not end there. The organization uses satellite remote sensing for multispectral analysis to determine chlorophyll levels to ensure trees are still blooming. It also integrates street-level cameras that provide panoramic views for remote visual inspections, and adds physical tilt sensors to more mature trees to detect any sudden movement that might indicate risk.
Tree Tilt Sensor – Click to enlarge
If NParks is alerted to any problems, staff can take action to improve the structure of the tree or carry out further assessments to determine if the plant’s life has run its course.
Drilling to measure tree density and detect gaps in the field – Click to enlarge
High-tech wood analysis has been in development for a long time. Tan said the process started 20 years ago with the geo-tagging of trees and has progressed with the availability of new technologies. About five years ago, tree geotagging began to be done through machine learning, thanks to a research project that finally applied. This means that tree inventory is now done automatically.
Five years ago, another remarkable event took place at the NParks tree park. A 38-year-old woman and her family with a baby in her arms died under a 270-year-old tambusu tree that fell during a concert in the park with many spectators. The incident remained in the memory of the residents as the concert participants rushed to remove the big tree.
According to the testimony given by the director of the botanical garden in the subsequent investigation, the tree was inspected twice a year and no visual defects were found. However, a week before the incident, it had rained with strong winds. The woman’s husband later sued NParks.
Death or injury from a falling tree is arguably the ultimate in negative outcomes associated with unhealthy or unmanaged trees. Fallen trees can also destroy property, block roads and viaducts, or obscure signs.
“We are monitoring the number of tree incidents,” Tan said Registration. He defined a tree incident as the fall of a branch or the snapping or uprooting of a tree trunk.
These incidents, Tan said, have gone from 3,000 a year at the turn of the century to less than five hundred a year today.
“There is about an 85 percent reduction in the number of tree incidents,” Tan said. “And the way we do that is we’re constantly improving our tree measurement process. And some of that is using technology, like the 3D sensors we put on the tree, that allow us to take more proactive intervention.”
This is good news for Singaporeans looking for a safe loft. ®