MSc thesis subject: Building a Raspberry Pi Prototype for Continuous Forest Canopy Monitoring

Digital Hemispherical Photography (DHP) is a favoured technique to measure Plant Area Index (PAI) in forests. However, continuous measurements are time and labour-intense. Automatic, low-cost sensors can take potentially over this job.

In recent years, mini-computers like the Raspberry Pi or the Arduino have been designed to fulfil every day, routine tasks such as regulating heating, or to serve as weather stations or private servers. The low-cost, easy-access programming interfaces and strong DIY community have supported this development.

On other hand, measurement of biophysical variables like PAI in forests is still dominated by manual techniques and often expensive sensors. This has hindered the establishment of measurement networks that deliver quality information on a routine basis, as for examples meteorological sensor networks do.


  • Review literature on PAI measurement principles
  • Establish design criteria for a PAI prototype
  • Design and build a prototype sensor-system
  • Document the design for reproduction
  • Take measurements and compare results with other sensors



  • Electronics & Gadgets enthusiast
  • Wiliness for learning new tools and enjoying beautiful forests

Theme: Sensing & measuring