Relasphone - mobile and participative in situ forest biomass measurements supporting satellite image mapping

Matthieu Molinier (Corresponding Author), Carlos A. López-Sánchez (Corresponding Author), Timo Toivanen, Ilkka Korpela, José J. Corral-Rivas, Renne Tergujeff, Tuomas Häme

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    39 Citations (Scopus)


    Due to the high cost of traditional forest plot measurements, the availability of up-to-date in situ forest inventory data has been a bottleneck for remote sensing image analysis in support of the important global forest biomass mapping. Capitalizing on the proliferation of smartphones, citizen science is a promising approach to increase spatial and temporal coverages of in situ forest observations in a cost-effective way. Digital cameras can be used as a relascope device to measure basal area, a forest density variable that is closely related to biomass. In this paper, we present the Relasphone mobile application with extensive accuracy assessment in two mixed forest sites from different biomes. Basal area measurements in Finland (boreal zone) were in good agreement with reference forest inventory plot data on pine ( R2=0.75 , RMSE=5.33 m 2 /ha), spruce ( R2=0.75,RMSE=6.73 m 2 /ha) and birch ( R2=0.71,RMSE=4.98 m 2 /ha), with total relative RMSE(%)=29.66% . In Durango, Mexico (temperate zone), Relasphone stem volume measurements were best for pine ( R2=0.88 , RMSE=32.46 m 3 /ha) and total stem volume ( R2=0.87 , RMSE=35.21 m 3 /ha). Relasphone data were then successfully utilized as the only reference data in combination with optical satellite images to produce biomass maps. The Relasphone concept has been validated for future use by citizens in other locations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number869
    Number of pages23
    JournalRemote Sensing
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • citizen science
    • participatory sensing
    • digital relascope
    • basal area
    • optical satellite images
    • aboveground forest biomass
    • growing stock volume
    • digital camera
    • smartphone app


    Dive into the research topics of 'Relasphone - mobile and participative in situ forest biomass measurements supporting satellite image mapping'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this