PICUS TreeMotion Sensor system (TMS 3)

  • Brand: IML
  • Product Code: TMS

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  • PICUS TreeMotion Sensor system (TMS 3)

PiCUSTMS 3 – Tree Motion Sensor
The Wind-Reaction-Measurement with PiCUS TMS 3 isused for in depth tree inspections to obtain information about a tree’sstability, defined by its root anchoring force in the ground.

PiCUS TMS 3 – consistently innovative

Bluetooth-communication – control viamobile phone

New inclination measurement – quickand simple installation

Small and stealthy 


Wind-Reaction-Measurement – the method

The Wind-Reaction-Measurement records the dynamicsway motion of a tree in naturally occurring wind, bymeasuring the root plate tilt.

The tree reaction to wind is measured directly, including all environmentalinfluences.
These include tree specific parameters (size, form of the crown, etc.), windstrength and wind exposition (ie effect of buildings and other trees in thevicinity).

In contrast to this the tree pulling test (Wessolly& Erb, 1998), an established method for assessing root defects, usesan artificial pulling load to simulate wind. However, an estimatefor the correlation between actually occurring natural wind and the artificialwind replacement load is rather difficult because of the previously mentionedenvironmental influences.


Typical applications for Wind-Reaction-Measurements

Confirmation of stability
If trees only show a small root plate tilt, even in strong wind gusts, one canassume a stable root system.

Identification of trees with root anchorageproblems
After measuring tree groups comparing the results can identify trees withconspicuously large root plate tilts.

Combination with static tree pulling test (TreeQinetic) with regards to stability
If a tree with increased tilt angles has been identified, it can be meaningfulto follow up with a static pulling test to measure the trees reaction to aknown force.

Addition to sonic tomography (PiCUS Sonic Tomograph) and resistancetomography (TreeTronic3)
Trees with large defects in the lower stem area (with assumed root defects)should additionally have their stability tested in natural wind

Surveillance of trees near construction
Sustained changes in a tree’s tilt angle possibly caused during groundworks canbe detected with the PiCUS TMS 3.

Long term monitoring of trees
Trees suspected of having root anchorage problems can be inspected at regularintervals to check whether:

  • The root plate tilt in wind decreases (tree grows new and stronger roots)
  • The root plate tilt in wind increases (roots are dying off or have been damaged)
  • The reaction remains constant (no change)


Technical data of the PiCUS TMS 3 System


Sensor colour:         grey   

Sensor weight:        73 g   

Sensor dimensions: 61 mm x 41 mm x 20mm  

Protection:     Completely sealedagainst water and dust           

Warranty:       5 years         


Accuracy tilt measurement:           0,03 ° 

Measurement interval:       0,05 s (20 Hz : 20 readings taken persecond)

Type of tilt measurement:   3Dmeasurement    

Sensor orientation: arbitrary         

Accuracy temperature measurement:     1 °C   

Temperature range:            -20 – +50 °C


Battery capacity andruntime:        250 mAh; > 14 days

Charging:     wireless        

Charge duration:      approx. 2h   

Recommended charging temperature:    5 –35 °C      

Sensor Memory                 

Memory size:           256MB         

Memory runtime:      20days         


Standby- and measuring mode:    BluetoothLow Energy 4.0 

Data download:       Bluetooth Classic 2.1         


TMS poweron:         Magnetic key            

Outdoor-handling:   BLE-capable mobilephone (Android, iOS)

+ TMS 3 App Electrical switch

Data download and analysis:        PC with Bluetooth Classic

+ TMS 3 Control software (direct sensorinteraction)   

PiCUS TMS 3-case            

Power supply:          230 V AC, 50 Hz(adaptor)            

Number of TMS-chargers   10 (wireless chargebays)

Maximum number of TMS 3 sensors:     20       

Weight, filled (screws, cables, 10 TMS): 5,5 kg

Dimensions: 48 cm x 35 cm x 15cm      


Important software features:

TMS PC-Software

  • Visualisation of raw data (tilt angle and direction)
  • functions for identifying and analysing of tilt events
  • direct comparison of tilt values from different PiCUS TMS (typically base and control sensor on the same tree)
  • Automated data analysis and Wind Tipping Curve calculation

PiCUS TMS 3 only

  • App for PiCUS TMS 3 control:
    • Status display
    • Input of tree data in preparation of a measurement
    • Live-measurement mode
  • Extension of the PC program:
    • Automated read out of PiCUS TMS 3 measurement data
    • Automated structuring of all tilt and wind speed data by project (data base creation)
    • Direct comparison of all PiCUS TMS 3 measured tilt values (on the same tree)
    • Direct comparison of Wind Tipping Curves from different trees
    • Automated read in and processing of wind measurement data (recorded with TMS Wind Measurement System)


Applicationof Tree Motion Sensors

Wind causes tilting of the root plate and bendingin the tree’s trunk. 
The PiCUS TMS are inclinometers which dynamically log changes in root platetilt over hours, days or even weeks.


  • Wind gust speeds > 45 km/h

Implementation of measurements (typical):

Implementation of measurements

  • Mount sensors before a wind event, end measurement after the wind has calmed down (minimum measurement duration 2h)
  • 2 PiCUS TMS per tree:
    base sensor on the trunk base – direct measurement of root plate tilt
    control Sensor at 2-3m height – for filtering out ambient noise sources (e.g. road traffic) and for identifying actual wind events
  • Comfortable analysis in your office, minimized on site time

If the base sensor shows tilt while the controlsensor doesn’t, it is ambient noise.
On an actual wind event the value of the control sensor has to be higherthan the base sensors, because the upper sensor not only measures the rootplate tilt but also the superimposed bending of the tree trunk.

Analysis and interpretation of measurement data

The included PC software creates diagrams showingthe relationship between wind speed and root plate tilt - the WindTipping Curve. Wind speed can be measured either on site (TMS WindMeasurement System) or it can be read and added manually from external sources(eg.windfinder.com). 

The ability to extrapolate tilt, for wind gustspeeds 10 to 20 km/h above the ones measured, allows predicting the tree’sperformance at higher wind speeds.

Below are wind tipping curves from three Douglas fir trees measured during astorm (wind speeds of up to 93 km/h, measured by a weather station approx. 9 kmaway).

 Douglas fir comparing

tms 3  tms 4

The red curve is from a Douglas fir which has botha large defect in the trunk base but strong buttress roots  (see PiCUSsonic tomogram). The other two curves are from neighbouring trees withoutdefects in the trunk base. It can be seen that the Douglas fir with defectshows even less root plate tilt than the reference trees.

The Douglas fir reacted to the internal defect by growing stronger roots.

Application examples

  • Comparative analysis of grouped trees
    All trees in an avenue of acers were fitted with PiCUS TMS. This allows fast and simultaneous testing of all trees with little effort. The comparing analysis identified trees that show unusually high tilt values, compared to others in the same group. 

Comparative analysis of grouped trees

In a direct comparison of the Wind Tipping Curves it is clearly shown that acer5 has a significantly higher tilt compared to the other four. Therefore, thistree should be inspected much more thoroughly (with other commonly usedmethods)

  • Single Tree analysis
    The tomogram shows a large defect in the trunk base (tilia with Kretzschmaria deusta). 
Single Tree analysis Single Tree analysis

  • Point 1 – Root plate tilt in wind speeds > 90 km/h already 0,7° (defoliated)
    Point 2 – tilt extrapolation for a wind speed of 110 km/h: 1,4°
Single Tree analysis
  • Conclusion:
    The Kretzschmaria deusta already affects the root stability of the tilia. According to the Generalized Wind Tipping Curve (by Sinn / Wessolly / Erb 1998) a tree pulled to a tilt of 2-4° will fall down without further increasing the applied force (uprooting force). Therefore, the tilia will not yet tip in wind speeds of 110 km/h.

Naturally the TMS from the Mini-Kit are compatible with all other parts of the full TMS 3 10 sensor system so that you can extend your equipment at any time.

The TMS 3 App for iOS or Android is available for free. Please scan the relevant QR code below or search for “Tree Motion” or “TMS 3“in the respective store.

Apple         Android

Apple                                  Android

For more information on the TMS please Click Here

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