March, 2021 –
The pilot research project in cooperation with the Institute of Landscape Ecology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences was successfully finished with the creation of our new application ySpace.

The purpose was the research and developments of new ways of monitoring damage done to forests using satellite imaging Sentinel form the European project Copernicus.
The result of nearly two years of work from both specialized teams is the application ySpace, which using image analysis can with high accuracy determine the type of forest undergrowth on the scanned area, identify the location where the undergrowth damage took place and through continual use will give a clear picture on the changes that occur in the forest during growing season. We are talking about a tool that can complement and in some cases replace field surveys directly on the managed area. New satellite imaging of the same area is available every five days, which is why analysis outputs are current and their great contribution is also the opportunity to view the long-term change processes in the forest.
The testing region chosen by the project team in cooperation with Forests of Slovakia, SOE is around 360 km2 of forested area in region Orava, in the Námestovo branch plant. For the pilot analysis a general monitoring of growth was chosen, which is used for registering, inventory and monitoring of nfested vegetation, which serve as an early indicator of infested areas. An early intervention will prevent a calamity from occurring, which is often fatal for spruce undergrowth.
For our pilot research we focused on verifying, how exactly we can use satellite imaging to identify areas with deciduous and coniferous undergrowth (beeches, spruces, worts, clearings and reveal locations with occurrences of infestation. We created an automated process that downloads images from available sources and uses them to create cloudless mosaics which it then analyzes. Rangers then receive the final product in the form of image layers, which can be displayed with other data they use and they are also available in the GIS system. They can therefore monitor the current stage of the forest, along with all the changes during the entire vegetative season, which is from April until August,” says the chief analyst of the project Peter Bobál from YMS.
Team YMS created the application ySpace as an automatic processor so that foresters can use the analysis without having any special IT skills. ySpace periodically automatically downloads new pictures (at times that do not burden the forestry system), stores them in a mass storage and processes them using FMAp and SNAP technologies. In order to finalize the analysis, it is necessary to generate additional sub-data sets such as different spectral indices (e.g. normalized vegetative index NDVI, cloud mask). All of those enter the final analysis, whose results are then available not only in the ySpace application, but also on the geographical information system ySpatial.
The pilot deployment of the application showed that analysis for automatically processed satellite data is a very good tool to support forest management. Although empirical verification of the actual condition of the undergrowth in the forest will always be the primary focus of forestry work, automatically generated analysis of outputs over satellite imaging will complement it, and if necessary with a relatively high accuracy replace empirical verification. It can thus help in very early identification of changes in the health of the forest, which will lead to earlier and more effective measures and the potential to prevent calamities or major damage. At the same time, it can provide data from large and hard-to-reach areas in a short time, thus reducing the cost of field research.