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Tree survey software and technology


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Hi all, im interested to hear what software/hardware any tree consultants/surveyors on these forums are using


At present we are using a set of Trimble recons running Trimble terrasync to collect data in the field. These are extremely rugged with immense battery life. We also use the Trimble GPS Pathfinder Office desktop Software as a means of converting the collected point/shape/line data into a format that we can use with autoCAD.


This set-up is diverse enough for pretty much any survey except the very small, where data entry becoms counter productive.


lets hear what you guys use and what you think?


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yes a combination depending on the task for larger durveys we export the raw data from the Trimble handhelds into .shp (esri shape file), then open in Manifold to finish off.


For smaller surveys such as BS:5837 and smaller condition of safety surveys, we use auto cad as this is better suited to RPA's


I'm just curious as to how others collect and manipulate their tree point data. There is almost an infinite amount of methods :-)

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Do if you collect the tree data on the Trimble and save it as as .shp file, how do you display information like tree numbers on an autocad drawing?


I currently use Digiterra on a Magellan mobile mapper to collect data. I can export the data as spreadsheets, digiterra maps or Google Earth (.kml) files but have not found a good way to export in to CAD drawings.

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The DWG format does contain a tiny little "database" inside for attribute details - it's called extended entity data. However, getting at it is a bit difficult at best and to try to perform thematic mapping such as show me all the trees due inspection within the next 4 weeks is very very very involved with lots of programming effort required on the part of the developer.


To avoid geeky boredom setting in I will stop there on the technicalities of DWG.


DWG is a CAD graphics format and definitely not the ideal mechanism for hold 20+ attributes for any number of trees.


Where possible we will link the Autocad object to a database e.g. MS Access or SQL etc record using AutoCAD MAP and then we can make the data come alive.


This is where GIS comes into the equation. The object on the drawing has the intelligence of the associated database information. i.e. it knows it has an ID, a species, height, DBH, crown, risk classification etc etc etc

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On the contrary this is just the sort of "geek" talk, i want to see on this thread. keep it coming.


Im familiar with interrogating a dataset to highlight items such as "show me all trees near powelines or within 4 mtrs of roads." this sort of efficient task management can optimise mobilisation of largscale, cyclic survey works.



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Yes that "buffer analysis" is the sort of advanced query GIS allows and displays the results on the map. Then produce a tabular report etc which can be emailed as appropriate.


In fact if the data is available there is no end to the queries that could be executed and hence planning activities. For example show me all the trees within 3 metres of an access path which are assigned stump grinding within the next 3 months...

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At the moment we don’t use tree software for data capture, but we are looking to purchase a Trimble Juno with ArcPad for field use. From here we’ve thought about downloading the tree position and attributes as a .shp file to ArcView (which we have & use) and from ArcView export into both AutoCAD as a DXF file for plans and into Excel for tree schedules. I’m no expert and am on a steep learning curve with all this but our IT man tells me that he can produce elliptical NESW crown spreads and circular RPAs in AutoCAD this way. Any comments on the feasibility of this method would be very welcome at this point (before any money is spent:laugh1:).



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