100710_2053_interpinest1Extracted from : Field Computing News – Volume 4 Feb 2003, Juniper Systems Inc

Over the past 20 years Interpine has found its niche in New Zealand and International forestry through developing innovative tools and techniques to monitor and reduce value loss from forestry investments as they progress from pre-harvest to mill gate.

Interpine Forestry currently can have up to 35 handheld field computers collecting data on any working day to manage forestry value loss for our customers, who are often the forest owners.

Field Computer Requirements

Our field computers are exposed to a range of environmental conditions, from heavy rain to dusty and muddy harvesting or mill sites. They must also withstand exposure to tree sap, splashed paint, and drops by users. We cannot afford to have any data loss, so a reliable power supply (including rechargeable and alkaline battery options), adequate memory capacity, and pure ruggedness are important considerations. We need flexibility for downloading requirements (flashcard, com ports, modem and infrared) and the computers must be appealing and 1 easy to learn’ for the operators who are not traditionally computer literate. A range of applications are required that utilize various operating systems from DOS, EPOC16 and recently Windows CE.

Software for Data Entry

Customized DOS data entry systems are implemented for some services using DataPlus Professional, MARVL (Method of Assessing Recoverable Volume by Log Type) and LOGGER. With the introduction of Windows CE, a new software system released by New Zealand Forest Research called ATLAS Cruiser is being used in the field to collect pre-harvest resource inventory. The data are downloaded daily to PC databases and processed, some-times via modem. Reports are generated and automatically displayed on our clientzone area on our website: www.interpine.co.nz within 24 hours for customers to view.

Updating our Technology

We needed to begin replacing older, no longer serviceable, ruggedized HP200LX computers. Interpine’s rigorous requirements for field computers quickly reduced our options for replacement units. The trial process began in October 2001 with the purchase of an Allegro Field PC. Trials were also run on some of the other options in the industry such as the Husky FEX21. At this time the forestry industry in New Zealand required some leadership in the area of field data collection tools and Interpine was the first forestry services company to make the jump away from a pure DOS device.

During this initial trial period, the Allegro Field PCs stood out as the obvious choice. We standardized our upgrade with the Allegro CE, and now operate three units within our field teams. The PocketDOS emulator enables us to transition our legacy DOS applications to the new Allegro CE units. We would like to compliment Juniper Systems on their service and response to our queries

100710_2053_interpinest2“Speed, Reliability and accuracy are key elements within this data supply chain”

Photos: Russell Judd, Interpine resource forester, collects data with an Allegro CE running ATLAS Cruiser inventory software. Photo Credits ATLAS Group, NZ Forest Research

David Herries, Interpine Principal, Business Development, assisted with this article.