Supporting Oil Palm Replanting Programs Using UAV and GIS in Malaysia

  • Pegah Hashemvand Khiabani
  • Wataru Takeuchi


As oil palm is cultivated in large-scale plantations, prior and post-planting operations are laborious and time expensive, and also manual implementation of some of these operations often results in incorrect measurements and information. Successful oil palm management in prior and post-planting operations requires effective techniques to collect precise information. Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery is a low-cost alternative to field-based assessment but requires the development of methods to easily and accurately extract the required information. The individual oil palm tree detection and height assessment are important and labor-intensive tasks for large-scale plantations where trees taller than 15 m are being replanted due to the high cost of harvesting and low yield. Therefore, in this chapter we demonstrate a general work flow for individual oil palm detection and height assessment using UAV imagery. We explain local maximum (LM) and template matching (TM) techniques as two commonly used approaches in individual tree detection. The accuracy of each method was evaluated on 20 randomly selected plots on UAV image with recall, precision, and F-score method. The F-score for LM method is higher than TM methods which, respectively, are 0.83 and 0.60. From 17,252 oil palm trees in the 20 plots, LM algorithm could detect 1395 (almost 80%) and TM algorithm, 967 (almost 55%). Three hundred fifty-seven and 785 trees have been missed, respectively, in LM and TM approaches. In both cases, background vegetation incorrectly has been labeled as oil palm tree, where 141 and 322 objects have been falsely detected as oil palm tree in LM and TM approaches. LM worked better in almost all of the plots; however the performance decreased in highly dense area. Contradictory to TM approach, in LM approach, shadows did not affect the performance as it was reflected in precision value. In densely cultivated plots due to leaves overlapping of neighboring trees, algorithm failed, and also in sparsely cultivated plots, shadows caused some commission errors. Inherited distortion of UAV image also caused some omission errors in TM approach. Individual detected tree with LM algorithm was used in the next part for oil palm height estimation overlaying with canopy height model.


RBG sensor Structure from motion (SfM) Canopy height model (CHM) 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pegah Hashemvand Khiabani
    • 1
  • Wataru Takeuchi
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Industrial ScienceThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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