Like for all environmental sciences, large quantities of information are being generated from easily accessible data sources, like aerial and satellite based LiDAR and imagery. This information can contribute significantly to improved forest management, and especially the planning and carrying out of forest operations.
Of special relevance to WP4 is an improved decision basis, provided for avoiding site damage by trafficking of forest machinery. One of the biggest challenges to operationalising the data is visualisation in the field. Static maps are not practical to use in the field, and poorly represent varying soil moisture conditions. While mapping functionality is available in most CTL harvesters, it is proprietary property and useable only within the remiss of each manufacturer. In a diverse forest sector, there is a need to develop solutions that work across platforms. In addition, it cannot be expected of a machine operator or forest worker to manually edit and provide accurate feedback to operations managers in analogue format.
This demonstrator describes how an app developed by T4E partner Latschbacher GmbH (https://www.latschbacher.com/) provides a solution to these challenges. The ‘TECH4EFFECT Mapping App’ is a handy tool that allows field operatives access to the most recent, complete and diverse data available. The basic data includes terrain trafficability quantified through a Depth-To-Water (DTW) map, woodland key habitats and other hotspots requiring special awareness, as well as terrain or slope maps. The position of the forest machine or worker using the device is always indicated in relation to other features on the map. As Web Map Service is used, any data layers from any participating country can be displayed.
A number of key functions of the Mapping App are employed in ensuring full versatility of the tool:
(1) The maps can be cached and map tiles can therefore be used offline in areas with poor network coverage.
(2) The app user can annotate the map with text and vector features including polygons, lines, and points, with the option of activating a track log recording the machine or user’s movements. Additionally, the user can be warned when approaching a critical area by a pushing notification.
(3) The user is able to store locally or share the annotations, as well as geo-referenced photographs, with other actors via a number of technologies (FTP, OneDrive, and Dropbox).
Technically, it is now possible for the user to add environmental data to the SILVISMART database. This provides an innovative new approach to capturing and working with environmental considerations within the efficiency framework being developed within the TECH4EFFECT project as a whole.
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