European Space Agency awards €800k contract to forestry data firm Treemetrics

22 Jan 2013

Enda Keane, CEO, Treemetrics, with Ireland's Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock, TD, in woodland at Blarney Castle

Irish company Treemetrics, which is pioneering data analytical technology for the forestry industry, has been awarded a €800,000 contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) to carry out a satellite forestry monitoring research project. The company is also planning to take on 10 new software engineers at its Cork facility.

Treemetrics, which Enda Keane and Garret Mullooly founded in 2005, has been awarded the ESA funding to lead an EU-wide research project in forestry measurement and data analytics.

The company is developing a real-time forest intelligence system, with the goal of bringing live 3D forestry data to mobile devices and forestry machinery across the globe.

The ESA contract has been secured with the help of Enterprise Ireland, the co-ordinating body for the ESA in Ireland.

The funding will support the rollout of Treemetrics’ web-based satellite mapping application for the forestry industry.

The company is also planning to recruit 10 new software engineers over the next 12 months to bring its headcount at its Cork facility to 30 employees.

Bringing the forestry industry into the digital age

Treemetrics’ forestry innovation aims to replace traditional callipers and measuring tape used by foresters with technology to measure forests before trees are cut down.

According to the company, its 3D laser scanners can quickly and accurately measure the shape, size and straightness of standing trees.

The goal is to allow foresters to use this 3D data to predict the quantities of log products that each tree can produce. Another aim of the technology is offer a better way of managing forests and reducing the unnecessary cutting down of trees.

“We are confident that Treemetrics’ technology can have a major impact on how we assess and manage the world’s forests,” said Keane.

He said the ESA contract complemented a recent series of contractual wins for the company. It was in March of last year that the ESA first announced its backing of Treemetrics’ technology.

“We view this award as an endorsement of our product innovation, having satisfied ESA’s very thorough approval standards,” said Keane.

He added that the ESA is supporting the company to make its technology more available to forest owners globally, as a web-based application.

“Our mission over the next five years is to transform the traditional global forestry industry into a more sustainable, cost-effective, higher-value business,” said Keane.

Prof Amnon Ginati, the head of the Integrated and Telecommunications Related Applications Department at ESA, said Treemetrics had received support from 80pc of owners and managers of forest owners in Ireland for the satellite forestry monitoring 3D project.

“The proposition of a novel forest monitoring platform integrating the latest satellite positioning and remote sensing data with Treemetrics’ ground-based forest information, is a great example for and a perfect match with the European Space Agency Integrated Application Promotion programme,” he said.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic