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Author Topic: Forest Inventory Design Software/Applications  (Read 913 times)

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Offline BuckeyeAaron

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Forest Inventory Design Software/Applications
« on: January 13, 2023, 03:47:48 PM »
Hey all.  I have always used Plot Hound offered by NCX (formerly SilviaTerra) to design my forest inventory work.  This application worked great for me as I could easily import the parcel boundary/forest boundary, pick my desired cruise parameters, and then have the program develop plot points on the map (which I could export to use in something such as OnX or Terrain Nav when in the field).  And this was a free service to boot.  I received an email from NCX recently stating that the Plot Hound will be deprecated.  Access and functionality will remain through the summer but after that one will no longer be able to utilize Plot Hound as it won't exist.  So where do I turn to now?  I don't do many formal inventories so I'd like to keep cost minimal but I understand that such options may not exist.  I was curious what other programs professional foresters are using.  I appreciate any helpful feedback!
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 

Psalms 139, 9-10.

Offline clearcut

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Re: Forest Inventory Design Software/Applications
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2023, 05:30:18 PM »
My current solution is a custom Google Sheet for data collection on an iPad with the CalTopo app for navigation.  Plots are laid out with QGIS and imported into CalTopo. 

CalTopos Professional Subscription  is $50/year for parcel data. Their intent is to supply detailed maps for search and rescue operations. 

QGIS is free and open source. Runs on most operating systems. 

Google is Google, Sheets is free to use. Storage plans available. 

Data analysis in Sheets, or .csv files exported to USFS software, commercial software, or sometimes processed with Python or R. 

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Forest Inventory Design Software/Applications
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2023, 05:42:32 AM »
For a dot grid I just use Maptitude's grid layer and make the dots whatever grid spacing. It stores lat/long. Use select by area to keep the dots within a block boundary.  Export it as a kmz file and send to the garmin gps with Mapwell. I can define the properties in Mapwell before sending to the gps.

I have a custom data base for cruise data I can use, created with VisualCE. These days I do such small parcels and rarely cruise anymore so I just use a tally sheet, a Garmin with the grid layer for the parcel. Later, enter direct into my cruise database off a dot tally cruise sheet and spit out the data. I like simple solutions. Cruising is simple, only look at volume as a whole. Log volume up here off standing trees isn't accurate enough. Lots of rotten heartwood or dark stain that rejects your log or veneer, so only scaled on the yard in these parts. Small volumes of logs, mostly pulp here. Not a lot of big wood left anymore unless culled white pine and hemlock left on clearcuts to stand or fall down mostly. :D









Image is 1000 px wide, but forum software reduces quality by reducing file size to conserve server real estate. Like 90% reduction. That makes red dots hard to see. ;D
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

2020 Polaris Ranger 570 to forward firewood, Husqvarna 555 XT Pro, Stihl FS560 clearing saw and continuously thinning my ground, on the side. Grow them trees. (((o)))

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Forest Inventory Design Software/Applications
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2023, 08:14:34 AM »
I haven't done a cruise in quite some time.  I would do like Swamp and run on a dot grid.  But, I use compass and pace for plot location.  I use a 10 BAF angle gauge.  Approximate 200' centers will give me about a 10% cruise.  Good enough to get timber volumes and enough data to write a mgmt plan.

During the cruise, I will note where stand conditions and sites change.  That will give a fairly accurate map of a parcel.  Using Swamp's dot grid, you could do the same with an aerial photo.  A dot grid can also used to estimate compartment size.

I will record timber species, size, and quality for each plot, as well as any pertinent information.  Arrange plot data for each compartment and you'll come up with a stand density and composition, as well as volumes.  When I compared my cruise data with an actual 100% cruise, I was always pretty close. 

Its old school, so not much help for the more technologically advanced.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Forest Inventory Design Software/Applications
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2023, 09:20:31 AM »
I have an old dot grid transparency about 30 years old or more.  These days all photos are easy to come by, digitized online in Google Earth or local government. Most GIS and GPS software display Google Earth photos as a layer, like in the screenshot above. Make the spacing for the points you want, export to GPS. I like using the GPS for final location, and have a compass for rough direction, the GPS hones in to the spot. You can even put the photo on your cheap Garmin if you want, like the Map64S. It's not even the latest GPS but older ones have not got the memory or the type of screen to display it. I GPS a lot of block boundaries during the year for thinning, at the end of the week those polygons are worth a lot more than the GPS. :D
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

2020 Polaris Ranger 570 to forward firewood, Husqvarna 555 XT Pro, Stihl FS560 clearing saw and continuously thinning my ground, on the side. Grow them trees. (((o)))

Offline BuckeyeAaron

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Re: Forest Inventory Design Software/Applications
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2023, 12:15:34 PM »
Thanks guys.  There are some good suggestions here that I will look into.  I may have follow up questions and I will report back.  I appreciate the help!
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. 

Psalms 139, 9-10.


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