ImageTree, a company that tracks individual trees in forests, has signed a technology development agreement and received an undisclosed investment from In-Q-Tel, an investment firm founded by the Central Intelligence Agency. ImageTree's ForestSense technology can calculate height, basal area, volume, species—every visible detail about a tree—of every tree crown in a forest. According to ImageTree chief executive Mark Redlus, ForestSense can also track topographical tree images down to a tenth of a meter.
The CIA remains mum on its interest in foresting technology, which is primarily used by logging companies. But ForestSense could potentially be used to comply with carbon-credit markets, or to track the growth of illegal crops like marijuana. The technology could also be used to monitor illegal logging practices.
In-Q-Tel's investment portfolio spans a variety of industries, including nanotechnology, digital identity and security, power systems, and medical technology. And ImageTree isn't the firm's first foray into mapping: Last month, the firm invested in Geosemble, a geospatial technology developer working on products that automatically extract maps, aerial imagery, and more.