FCE to apply smart sensing technology in urban tree management
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) kicked off the Jockey Club Smart City Tree Management Project, a large-scale pilot project in Hong Kong, with the support from academia, non-government organisations (NGOs) and the Government, to apply smart sensing technology (SST) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for monitoring tree stability to enhance timely appropriate mitigation measures for sustaining longer tree lives.
Tree anchorage is critical to its structural stability. Weak anchorage will be reflected in a tree tilting, which in serious case poses the hazard of falling. In the Project, sensors will be tailor-made and installed on the lower trunk of selected urban trees to monitor their tilting angle in a 3-dimensional manner, as a way of assessing the stability of the root and thus the tree. Data will be collected for a quantifiable analysis of the trees’ root plate movement through the use of SST, i.e. the technology of monitoring environmental changes with the use of remote sensors and techniques, via the GIS-based platform.
Taking into consideration of various environmental factors, a threshold will be determined to design the monitoring system as a scientific measurement of the root plate movement and stability. When the tilting angle of a tree exceeds the threshold, the project team will be alerted to conduct a visit to verify the data for the purpose of calibrating the system. When considered necessary, it will inform the relevant tree management team to undertake actions in a timely manner.
As such, the information generated by the monitoring system will provide objective and quantifiable data for the consideration of the tree management team to supplement the visual tree monitoring method widely adopted by the industry at the moment in assessing the movement of a tree.