Leoben creates digital twin of city-centre trees

  • August 1, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

The city of Leoben in Austria has created a digital twin of all its 3000 trees using technology from Greehill.

Urban green spaces are essential in the fight against climate change. However, manual surveys of the urban tree population are not only costly and time-consuming, they are also often incomplete.

In a reference project, the city of Leoben is now relying on digital twins of all 3000 trees in the city centre, which allow the city’s tree population to be managed online and ecological developments to be predicted using computer simulations.

Greehill was started in 2017 by Gabor Goertz and Gyula Fekete as a research and development project for Singapore National Parks to transform urban forest management digitally in one of the world’s greenest cities. Five years later, Greehill is already represented in numerous locations worldwide and Singapore is already using the system, with the municipalities of Berlin, Leipzig, Budapest, Barcelona and Lyon actively exploring the opportunity to improve the lives of their citizens through active, urban forestry check.

“Leoben joins a number of prominent cities with the digital tree survey,” said Leoben’s mayor Kurt Wallner. “The Greehill database and the extensive know-how behind it help us to analyse and manage the urban tree population in order to noticeably improve the health and well-being of the citizens of Leoben.”

With the help of drones, mobile laser scanners and highly sensitive cameras, the programme creates a comprehensive database based on the existing tree register, with which each tree and its immediate surroundings can be analysed directly from a desk.

At the push of a button, the computerised 3D model can be used to perform health and safety checks, custom measurements, or filter trees based on key criteria. Climate and ecologically relevant data such as the amount of carbon dioxide stored by the tree or by how many degrees a park with trees cools the adjacent area can also be queried.

The monetary valuation function quantifies the social, ecological and economic benefits of the existing trees. In this way, resource-saving, evidence-based decisions can be made to maintain a safe and healthy tree population to create the conditions for intact, resilient green lungs in urban areas for future generations.