Tree Avoidance Map for US Rovers

If you’ve ever been roving with a big dish or microwave antennas that are not on a mast, you know that locating an area without trees can be very important.  A hilltop that looks good on an elevation map is not worth nearly as much if is is covered in trees.  Most rovers survey locations in advance of operating to find out which locations are actually as good as they might appear to be on a topo map.

Scientists at the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC) have now produced a “biomass map” (read trees) from a number of sources including the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) data and other data from the USGS and the USFS.  The map has 30m resolution and so presumably could help a rover determine which areas are “tree infested” and which are not (I love trees, just not when roving).  I’ve not yet had a chance to look at the real usefulness of this data down to that resolution, but just glancing at the map gives you a very good idea where densities are best and worst.

Locating trees around the US using data from SRTM, USGS and USFS

United States Biomass Map © 2011 WHRC

Clicking on the map above to enlarge it and the map on the WHRC website can be zoomed and panned for even greater resolution.

2 thoughts on “Tree Avoidance Map for US Rovers

  1. This map makes the EM00,01,02,03.04.05,15,14,13,12,11,10 loop look pretty good! Very interesting map!

  2. Yes and you can see why we have such a hard time in EM21, EM22, EM3x, etc. It seems silly, but I didn’t realize how many more trees there are in East Texas. This also says that if you want to do well over there, you really need a mast…