In November 2020, a team from LiveEO and Liberty Utilities gathered in Joplin, Missouri, to explore the potential of using specially trained AI and satellite imagery to overcome challenges faced by utility vegetation managers dealing with vast forests. During this time, LiveEO was testing a new AI technology to identify tree species and monitor seasonal changes in foliage. Liberty Utilities saw this as an opportunity to improve their vegetation management program and gain efficiencies.
During the pilot project, the team validated the AI assessments against ground truth data in specific locations. The key factors they focused on were tree location, height, vitality, and species. The evaluation of trees in decline proved successful, with height and location being reliable indicators. However, identifying the height of trees accurately posed some challenges, and certain cases required more in-depth visual inspections. Nonetheless, the AI technology helped highlight declines that were not easily visible to the naked eye.
The team recognized areas for improvement and worked on enhancing the AI’s training on dense and high-variety woodlands like those in Missouri. Over subsequent months, species identification accuracy significantly improved, showing the AI’s capacity to self-improve and evolve rapidly, thus making it a valuable tool for Liberty Utilities.
Overall, the pilot project demonstrated the potential of AI and satellite imagery to revolutionize utility vegetation management. The future looked promising, with this groundbreaking technology poised to transform the way utilities manage their vast territories against critical risks.
To learn more about the project, please visit https://www.tdworld.com/vegetation-management/article/21264474/satellite-data-for-managing-vegetation-risk.