Inside the Source: Compare and Contrast the Relascope and Terrestrial Lidar Tools

February 20, 2019 

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Assignment: Compare and Contrast the Relascope and Terrestrial Lidar Tools by Zack Parisa

I was talking with a few forestry students at a conference and this question came up: Are there any similarities between terrestrial lidar scanning (TLS) tools and the relascope? If you were just starting out today, what would you buy? Here’s an answer to this question. To be fair, it’s the boiled-down version of a long conversation.

The first bad joke that sprang to mind was that neither TLSs nor relascopes make sense the first time you pick them up, but eventually they both make perfect sense. However, this deserves a more thoughtful response. The most obvious similarity is that the objective of both instruments (granting that there are many versions of TLS instruments which I will lump together here for simplicity) is pretty much the same. Both are used to measure the heights and diameters of trees and, in some cases, to summarize such data into plot-level attributes like basal area.

Zack Parisa is a cofounder of SilviaTerra ( 

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