Carbomap presenting at the 3D Laser Mapping Conference

Carbomap’s CTO, Antoine Cottin, will be presenting at the 3D Laser Mapping Conference this week in London.


Showcasing some of our cutting edge work on the use of Multispectral LiDAR for forest mapping, Antoine will be demonstrating results from the use of a Riegl LiDAR Combo with a special focus on its use for understory mapping.

The conference is going to be held at the Prince Phillip House in London on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th November. You can find out more information on 3D Laser Mapping’s website, and you can also register free for the event here.

If you plan to attend, or would like to get in touch with us, then you can Contact Us through our website.


Paddy Scott joins our board as Chairman

Carbomap are delighted to announce that Paddy Scott has joined Carbomap as our company Chairman. He brings an enormous amount of expertise and experience in international business.paddy square

An alumni of Trinity College Dublin, graduating in Business Studies, Paddy began his career in international brand management and business development. With twenty years spent in the international drinks sector, primarily with Johnnie Walker and Pimm’s where he was managing director. He created his own company, Reach for Success, which specialised in marketing and business development, which Paddy has continued to manage, as well as being Chief Executive of Scotland’s Gardens.

Paddy is also a director of Discover Scottish Gardens and David Hughes Dance, chairman of The Friends of Crichton Collegiate Church and a member of the committee of the Scottish branch of the German British Chamber of Commerce. His extensive experience in international business is an inspiring addition to the Carbomap team.



Multispectral LiDAR on front cover of GIM International

Carbomap have featured on the front cover of this months GIM International!

2015 is definitely going to be the year of the multicoloured point cloud.

GIM_MultiSpectral_Article1Carbomap have been promoting the concept of Multispectral LiDAR for forest mapping since 2008 (and is the basis of our pending patent) but it is this year that we believe we will see it transfer to the mainstream.   GIM International magazine also recognise this, so they invited us to write a review article on the technology and its future; it was published in the February 2015 edition and you can read it below.  This technology will bring a whole new perspective on forest mapping, from understory spectral maps to improved fire risk mapping.

If you think that the article is interesting, and you want to read about other similar projects in the world of mapping then you can sign up to get the digital version of GIM International for free. You’ll also then be able to see the rest of the August magazine (with some other really interesting stories).

If you would like more information on multispectral lidar, or would like to trial this new technology over your area of interest, please contact our CEO directly: (+44 7887 551 724)

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Carbomap’s Carbon Emissions and Offsetting (2013-2014)

Carbomap recently calculated our carbon emissions for 2013-14, and we found that we had generated 1.65 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

mark_jpgIn the grand scheme of ‘corporate’ carbon emissions this is a tiny amount, however we feel that this doesn’t detract from the fact that we are having an adverse impact on our natural environment (however small). And by starting to monitor and manage this now we will be able to keep tabs on this as Carbomap grows. As an explicitly environmental company, we believe in running a carbon neutral business, we decided to offset the emissions that we were unable to avoid.

How did we calculated our carbon emissions?

Our carbon emissions were calculated in line with the most recent Defra guidelines, and carbon conversion factors, published in 2014. Our emissions are reported in CO2 equivalent, which is the global warming potential of different gases (such as Methane) measured in the reference term of Carbon Dioxide. It allows us to fully account for our environmental impact, and doesn’t limit us to only carbon when we fully understand that other gases have an impact on global warming too.

We determined our share of the electricity and heat usage for our office in Appleton Tower by using our proportion of floor area to the building as a whole and applying this to the energy usage for the building. These came to 0.88 tonnes of CO2 equivalent for electricity, and 0.36 tCO2e for the heating.

We also included our business travel for the year, which included a handful of short-haul flights, and two train journeys. These came to 0.35 tCO2e for flights, and 0.06 tCO2e for rail travel.

Currently Carbomap is a paperless office (though we recycle any waste that we do accumulate), so this hasn’t been included. Neither is water, as this is notoriously difficult to monitor where it isn’t metered.

How did we offset them?

Having done research into the organisations which offer carbon offsets for sale, we decided to go with The CarbonNeutral Company. Having had professional experience with them in the past we knew their reputation, and the standards to which their offsetting projects adhere to. Their portfolio includes a number of forestry projects, including REDD+ schemes in Cambodia, Madagascar, and Borneo (to name a few). Carbomap have long been proponents of REDD+ [Blog 1Blog 2Blog 3] as a mechanism for developing countries to maintain economic development, whilst minimising impact on the natural environment (unlike many existing developed nations), ensures the protection of key forest ecosystems, and provides financial compensation to the local communities and countries for doing so.


What is carbon offsetting and why has Carbomap chosen to do this?

Carbon offsetting is the process whereby carbon emissions are reduced in one place to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. By paying for the carbon offsets, it is designed to encourage emitters to reduce their carbon emissions. In the context of Carbomap, we create carbon emissions simply by having an office, using electricity, and travelling. However, we believe in an environmentally friendly future for the planet, and we voluntarily decide to offset these. Also, given that we work in the forestry sector, and hope to benefit and contribute to the development of schemes such as REDD+ we feel it is only appropriate that we feed back into this system. Not only does this account for our carbon emissions, but it also aids forest conservation and the protection of biodiversity, whilst aiding international poverty alleviation efforts. For us it is about much more than the carbon.

Going forward, what are we doing to limit our carbon emissions?

A common criticism of the carbon offsetting ‘industry’ is that it does nothing to dissuade organisations from reducing their emissions, as they can simply offset them elsewhere. However, our experience is that the cost of carbon offsets itself can encourage this reduction. We are also keen to limit and reduce our carbon emissions (indeed it is written into our ethics policy). We already limit the amount of paper we use, and follow standard tricks such as turning lights off, and powering down computers at night. Given that Carbomap operate internationally we try to limit our travel emissions too, we regularly use Skype for conducting long-distance meetings where we can, negating the need to meet in person (which would incur significant emissions from travel). We also have some exciting announcements coming up, which further contribute to our commitment to limiting our environmental impact. Keep your eyes peeled!


Carbomap Teams Up with rapidlasso

PRESS RELEASE (for immediate release)
December 4, 2014
Carbomap Ltd., Edinburgh, UK

Just in time for ELMF 2014 in Amsterdam, Carbomap Ltd. and rapidlasso GmbH have teamed up to further the development of tools that better exploit full-waveform LiDAR for the forestry and carbon market. This partnership brings together many years of expertise in processing discrete and full-waveform LiDAR with a wealth of experience in applying this technology within forestry and biomass applications.

The full-waveform tools are built around the PulseWaves format, an open LiDAR format that is the full-waveform sibling of the venerable LAS format, reaffirming a joint committment to support the use of open data formats within the LiDAR industry. Software will be developed both as stand-alone tools as well as for use within the IDL framework.

The use of LiDAR in the forest and carbon industries is expanding rapidly. The new partnership between rapidlasso and Carbomap targets the development of solutions for this growing market. Together the two companies can offer a wider range of tools for vegetation analysis that better exploit the additional information captured by a modern full-waveform scanner, including the newest multispectral instruments.


Antoine Cottin (left), CTO of Carbomap, and Martin Isenburg (right), CEO of rapidlasso, discuss technology details about their new partnership.

About Carbomap Ltd:

Carbomap is an environmental survey company spun out of the University of Edinburgh. The company takes forward over five years of world-class research in the development of a Multispectral Canopy LiDAR, a revolutionary, patent-pending laser scanning instrument designed to fill a gap in airborne forest survey requirements. The founders are international renown for remote sensing methodologies, satellite radar mapping, forest structure mapping, carbon sequestration and airborne survey. Carbomap is currently the only company with tools for analysing multispectral LiDAR for forest applications. Visit for more information.

About rapidlasso GmbH:

Technology start-up rapidlasso GmbH specializes in efficient LiDAR processing tools that are widely known for their high productivity. They combine robust algorithms with efficient I/O and clever memory management to achieve high throughput for data sets containing billions of points. The company’s flagship product – the LAStools software suite – has deep market penetration and is heavily used in industry, government agencies, research labs, and educational institutions. Visit for more information.

Carbomap featured in GIM International magazine

The fun and exciting work that we have been doing on the project in French Guiana has been feature in the August 2014 edition of GIM International.

You can read our article below, which discusses the demonstration of a UAV-LiDAR and its first use in a rainforest!

If you think that the article is interesting, and you want to read about other similar projects in the world of mapping then you can sign up to get the digital version of GIM International for free. You’ll also then be able to see the rest of the August magazine (with some other really interesting stories).

GIM Page 1 GIM Page 2 GIM Page 3

Optech’s HydroFusion software wins 2014 MAPPS Award

Carbomap is very pleased to learn that Optech’s HydroFusion software wins the 2014 MAPPS Geospatial Products and Services Excellence Award for Technology Innovation. Why?  Because our very own Antoine Cottin contributed to the development of that software.  “I’ve contributed to the development of several environmental mapping modules for several years,” says Antoine. “Back in 2008, early in it development, this software took radical and visionary decisions on the technical and design concepts that have proven today to be the good ones.”

the globe and the flight planning interface

the globe and the flight planning interface

Some of these decisions were: a software entirely written in IDL/ENVI, the use of the Blue Marble Globe to display the data in an interactive way, some very advance flights planning tools required for airborne bathymetric survey with lidar and hyper spectral to maximize sensors performances. And finally some voodoo-magic algorithms from Drs Feygels and Kim, that make the water disappears and magical reveals the beauty of the sea-floor.

“This software shifted a complex processing workflow for bathymetric and data fusion into a one push-button solution. Congratulation to all the software developers at Optech Inc. at the Kiln office and the JALBTCX personnel that make this project a reality”.  And congratulations to Antoine for being part of the successful team.


Faisdodo: Carbomap’s open source LAS Project

Carbomap are delighted to release our “Faisdodo” project. This is an “open source” IDL implementation of a LAS file reader/writer. The laslib class object can read, write and manipulate points and/or full waveform LiDAR contained in the binary LAS file format.

We are aware that although releasing “open source” code in IDL might not be as “open” as code in C/C++, but here at Carbomap we use this library every day in processing our workflow, with fast and efficient results for LiDAR data manipulation.

As it is an open project we are keen for you to get involved, whether this is just providing feedback and reporting bugs, or if you want to build upon our code and contribute to the project directly.

Screen Shot 2014-04-23 at 11.31.01If you’re wondering about the name of the release; it celebrates a Cajun dance party: the Faisdodo.

To get more information, or to download the code directly, please visit the project page here:

Carbomap Ltd. has a joint expertise of more than ten years in LiDAR full waveform data processing. This includes bathymetric, topographic, mobile and terrestrial LiDAR systems.

If you want to find out more about Carbomap then you can visit our website or our blog.

LiDAR drone system maps height of rainforest for the first time

Carbomap, a UK forest mapping company today announced that it has collaborated with l’Avion Jaune S.A.R.L and IRD (Institut de recherche pour le développement) in France to complete the first canopy height model of a rainforest using data from the first true UAV-ready LiDAR system (called YellowScan®), an approach which has never been applied before in the tropics.

The project, CANOPOR, coordinated by IRD was funded through the “Investissements d’Avenir” grant managed by Agence Nationale de la Recherche (Labex CEBA), focussed on the Paracou experimental forest site in French Guiana, which is managed by CIRAD (Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement).

The project as a whole has a range of different objectives linked to many aspects of forest mapping, and Carbomap was involved in the generation of the canopy height model using a very high density point cloud.


Canopy Height Model from Paracou Experimental Station

Canopy Height Model from Paracou Experimental Station. The transect at the bottom shows a cross-section of tree heights above the ground.


Data for the canopy height model aspect of the project was collected by mounting the YellowScan® system on a manned helicopter. The helicopter then replicated the flight parameters of a typical UAV drone, and provided proof of concept for this approach.The UAV approach is more adapted to this type of work, in comparison to the current industry standard which uses full size airplanes for Airborne LiDAR surveys, for a number of reasons. Firstly the flight altitude of a UAV is significantly lower than that of a normal surveying aircraft, which helps to overcome problems of cloud and atmospheric interference in rainforest. UAV’s also fly at much lower speeds than normal aircraft, meaning that a much higher point density can be achieved.   The result is a highly cost-effective system that is especially appropriate for developing countries where airborne LiDAR is expensive to deploy.

To generate the canopy height model, Carbomap used their bespoke processing chain to extract the terrain level from the point cloud. The particular challenge of this project was the high density of the forest itself, which limited the ease of identifying the ground. To do this Carbomap developed an algorithm that is capable of retrieving the few points which correspond to the ground, to generate a bare earth digital terrain model (DTM). Once this was extracted the canopy height model was determined from the height of the trees above the ground.

The next stages in Carbomap’s forest mapping workflow are the extraction of other forest metrics from the data. Examples of this are the amount of aboveground biomass or Carbon stored within the forest area, and if multiple datasets over time are available, then the change in forest cover, from which changes in forest carbon, can also be measured.

This international collaboration, between the Edinburgh-based Carbomap and the French organisations L’Avion Jaune S.A.R.L and IRD, demonstrates the international appeal for the further development of such forest mapping approaches.

Professor Iain Woodhouse, CEO of Carbomap said, “The exciting prospect here is that it demonstrated how a UAV LiDAR can map rainforests in 3D on the landscape scale. The UAV LiDAR approach offers a low cost alternative to sending people into the field to make measurements, yet it provides much higher detail than can be achieved with satellites”.

About Carbomap Ltd

Carbomap is an environmental survey company which spun out of the University of Edinburgh in 2013. The company takes forward over four years of world-class research within the University in the development of a Multispectral Canopy LiDAR, a revolutionary, patent-pending laser scanning instrument designed to fill a gap in airborne forest survey requirements. Carbomap has a world beating team. The scientific founders have international reputations in remote sensing methodologies, satellite radar mapping, forest structure mapping, carbon sequestration and airborne survey.

About Carbomap’s technology

Carbomap is pioneering a state-of-the-art approach to measuring and mapping the world’s forest carbon called Multi Spectral Canopy LiDAR, which is optimised to measure forest properties by combining the proven strengths of hyper spectral sensing with the 3D structural information from LiDAR. Carbomap can provide forest managers, carbon traders and certifying authorities with independently verified, forest map products to support their strategic decision making. Carbon investors always need to carry out due diligence and ensure quality control to minimise the investment risk. Carbomap provides cost-effective and accurate forest information to support effective decision making.

Carbomap’s approach, which uses four wavelengths, offers significant advantages over existing commercially available single wavelength LiDAR systems. In addition to generating 3D maps as standard, Carbomap’s proprietary system utilises four specific colour bands (rather than one) that are uniquely tuned to measure the health and function of trees, thus providing information from throughout the forest, including the under-canopy vegetation, which is important for the management of fire and invasive species such as rhododendron.

“This kind of information will provide improved capacity to conduct forest inventory and to comply with the increasingly demanding policy directives intended to promote sustainable forestry, increase carbon stocks and conserve biodiversity,” said Prof. Woodhouse. “Our technology provides a cost reduction of at least 50% over traditional ground survey and also provides a level of forest information that cannot be achieved with other airborne scanning systems.”

Standard single-wavelength LiDAR systems use one colour and typically record multiple echoes: one for the top of the tree, the other for the ground surface. This is mostly used for typical surveying activities, such as making OS-type maps, or for engineering, construction and infrastructure planning.

About L’Avion Jaune S.A.R.L

Founded 2005 by three associates, L’Avion Jaune S.A.R.L started as a development and service company based on UAV technology. Reality and opportunities made it evolve to a full aerial imagery service company using manned planes and helicopters as well as UAVs. Since the beginning, its commitment to fulfills high resolution and high quality radiometric requirements has fueled its research and development department.

About L’Avion Jaune’s technology

L’Avion Jaune has created YellowScan®, an all-in-one ultra-light laser scanner intended for UAVs and other ultra-light aircrafts. With less than 2 kg, YellowScan® incorporates a laser scanner head, an inertial measurement unit and a high-grade GPS. YellowScan® has low power consumption (20 Watt) and extremely compact dimensions (20 x 15 x 15 cm). YellowScan® is the world’s lightest standalone surveying solution for drones and other ultralight aircrafts.

YellowScan® is suited for very high resolution surveys. It can operates up to 150 m above ground level with a resolution of 10 cm. Typical scan angle measurement is ±50°.

The system provides up to 3 echoes per shot, allowing to get topographic information under vegetation cover.

About l’Institut de Recherche pour le Développement

The IRD is a French research organisation, original and unique on the European development research scene. Emphasizing interdisciplinarity, the IRD has focused its research for over 65 years on the relationship between man and its environment, in Africa, Mediterranean, Latin America, Asia and the French tropical overseas territories. Its research, training and innovation activities are intended to contribute to the social, economic and cultural development of southern countries.

About the CEBA

The Center for the study of Biodiversity in Amazonia (CEBA) is a network of 11 internationally -recognized French research laboratories involved in biodiversity research in Amazonia in different aspects: biodiscovery, ecology, genetics, modelling, biodiversity & public health, social sciences, etc.

The teams of the CEBA, based in French Guiana, mainland France and the French Antilles, bring together a staff of around 150 people in total (researchers, engineers, PhD students, etc.). The CEBA fosters cutting-edge research on biodiversity in French Guiana and enables the partner teams to lead joint projects thanks to long-term funding.

The CEBA was labelled « Laboratoire d’Excellence » in 2011 in the framework of the calls of proposals launched by the French National Research Agency (ANR) in the Investissements d’Avenir programme. It will conduct its activities from 2011 until 2019.

Contact information

Prof Iain Woodhouse, Carbomap Ltd.,, +44 7887 551724

Dr. Tristan Allouis, L’Avion Jaune S.A.R.L.,

More information

Carbomap Ltd. :

l’Avion Jaune S.A.R.L :





The full transect with Google Earth imagery in the background.


With the ground elevation normalised to a flat surface, this image just shows one slice of the canopy structure. Individual tree crowns are visible, and emergent trees can be clearly seen on the right hand side.

Value of world’s forest carbon underestimated by more than 20%

Carbomap’s analysis of Costa Rican forest demonstrates a possible $800 billion shortfall and need for better carbon accounting

Carbomap today announced that it has completed a three-dimensional carbon map of a forested region in Costa Rica. The map reveals that the actual carbon content is 22% higher than published values using traditional satellite methods of measuring forest carbon.

Estimated using approved methodologies by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the global forest carbon stocks are understood to contain 638 billion tonnes of carbon, which may be valued at more than $3.8 trillion (using an average price of $6 per tonne of carbon).


Underpinning any carbon credit trading is the need for accurate carbon stock calculations. Carbon stock calculations and their ongoing verification can therefore represent significant costs within any carbon trading transaction, and accuracy is important.

The data collected by Carbomap shows that the value of protecting global forest carbon could be being significantly underestimated, potentially by as much as $800 billion.

In collaboration with the Global Conservation Standard, Carbomap used data collected by NASA’s experimental LVIS airborne laser scanning system to better estimate the above-ground carbon stocks in a project area. This is the first time that fully volumetric LiDAR data of this kind has been used as a tool for valuing forest carbon.

Using satellite-collected data from existing scientific studies, the forested area in Costa Rica was estimated to contain between 14.4 and 16.3 million tonnes of carbon. However, using the more detailed information available from the airborne LVIS system, Carbomap estimates the same area to contain at least 19.8 million tonnes of carbon.


“We have developed a unique processing tool that allows us to extract very detailed information about the forest and we have found that the total above-ground carbon content was 22% higher than the average of the satellite estimates,” said Prof. Iain Woodhouse, Founder and CEO, Carbomap. “Satellite data cannot provide information on the vertical dimension of the forest, such as canopy height and layering, which are crucial to accurate measurement of the carbon, the biodiversity and the underlying ground surface.”

In addition to the clear economic benefits from sustainable timber, countries around the world are increasingly looking to protect their forest assets and reduce deforestation through UNFCC initiatives such as the REDD-plus framework. To date, $14.5 billion has already been pledged to support initiatives under the programme.

Multiscale mapping of forests (not to scale)

Multiscale mapping of forests (not to scale)

In order to quantify the financial value of the carbon stored in the forests, for the benefit of forest carbon investors, and certification schemes, more than $2.7bn is already spent annually on forest monitoring. Currently, the most common methods of measuring forests are ground-based measurement, analysis of satellite data or single-colour airborne laser scanning.

“It’s very important to forest asset owners that they are able to accurately value the carbon content of their forests and we have shown with this exercise that estimates based on satellite data are well below the actual carbon value of forests,” said Prof. Woodhouse.

Four stages  - collecting data

Four stages – collecting data

“Our technology could be considered like an MRI scanner for forests, and provides even better carbon measurement capabilities than NASA’s LVIS system”.