Forest Time Machine - virtual 360° reality in the forest over space and time

We developed a solution for monitoring the growth dynamics of forest stands. A web app enables convenient analysis of attributed 360° photospheres recorded at different points in time.


  • Lead-Departement(e) Technik und Informatik
  • Institut Research Institute for the Security in the Information Society RISIS
  • Laufzeit (geplant) 01.01.2018 - 31.12.2018
  • Projektverantwortung Ulrich Fiedler
  • Projektleitung Ulrich Fiedler
  • Projektmitarbeitende Manuel Kohler
    Jan Bauer
  • Partner Christian Rosset, BFH-HAFL
  • Schlüsselwörter Forest 4.0, digitalization, augmented reality, web platform, JavaScript, JQuery

Starting point

Forests are highly complex ecosystems that are difficult to understand and to manage. Time consuming manual procedures by experts are needed to monitor the development and to prepare the decision making for interventions. Recent advances in image acquisition and web technology offer new ways to digitize these forest management processes.


  • Developing a practical method for the recording of high-resolution 360° photosphere images for systematic use in large forest areas
  • Reducing the need of inspections by experts
  • Calculating key parameters from images to monitor trees and their growth process
  • Creating and maintaining digital copies of the forest stands from sets of photosphere images for further analysis and statistics
  • Creating virtual tours for demonstration purposes
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First, HAFL systematically recorded 360° photospheres on the nodes of predefined grids throughout forest stands. Then we developed a web app which enables the forester to browse and to attribute the photosphere images from their office. This includes determining forest-specific parameters from the photosphere images taken at different points in time.

We followed an agile development methodology with short sprints and continued client feedback. As technology we used JavaScript / JQuery.

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Our web app enables to navigate through large forest stands by browsing and to inspect previously recorded 360° photosphere images (“digital twins”) that were recorded at different locations and different points in time. The growth dynamics of forests can be analysed comprehensively in the office in a very convenient way, which leads to a better understanding of these complex ecosystems.

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