Recently we were introducing GeoMaster to a new client, and one thing that stood out was making the GIS easy to use for the operational foresters and supervisors. Often as a forester you need or get asked to provide managers, forest owners and yourself with maps, to visually review operations. It is often the best way to understand what operations and activity across the forest estate is planned, has happened or is in progress. With little more than a couple mouse clicks within ATLAS GeoMaster any attribute held by GeoMaster Forest Information system can be mapped in GIS.

So without the need for advanced GIS skills you can create maps such as:

  • A map for staff of this year’s clear-fell, fertilizer, planting, or irrigation work program.
  • Map this years planned inventory assessments for release in a tender document.
  • Include in a final report to your forest investor or manager, a professional overview map.
  • Map all stands sprayed for dothi last financial year.
  • Map all the stands by pruned height across the estate.
  • Map the forest by croptypes while preparing yield tables and woodflow reporting.
  • Map of all the forest accord areas for an upcoming FSC Audit.
  • Map all stands with work in progress / incomplete.
  • Map location of all the current harvest operations and their contractor.
  • Map the planned harvest area settings by average piece size to pass out in a harvest tender for next year’s program.

So how is this achieved in GeoMaster?

By default the patch layer is coloured by patch class as shown in figure 1, which simply shows planted patches in green. But as shown in Figure 2 users can easily change this by selecting “View” from the GeoMaster menu.


Figure 1 – the patch layer defaults to display by patch class.


082013_2150_visuallyvie2-copyFigure 2 – Changing the display of the patch, or settings layer is as easy as selecting “View” from the GeoMaster menus (left above shows forest view, right above show harvest view).

There are a few defaults you can choose from: to display stands as individual colours just select to view by “Stands”, and you end up with a quick view as shown in Figure 3


082013_2150_visuallyvie3-copyFigure 3 – Quick visual view of forest stands.

Or you can simply map by any attribute recorded in GeoMaster. So let’s map by current stems per hectare (from last assessment). Selecting to view by attribute arrives at this dialog and in this case I selected stand attribute, SPH, and to display as a colour range.


082013_2150_visuallyvie4-copyFigure 4 – Visual view of stands by SPH

Here in Figure 5, I wanted a quick map of clearfell settings (as opposed to stands) by harvest method.


082013_2150_visuallyvie5Figure 5 – Visual view of harvest settings by harvest method.

Here’s an example of mapping when the last full inventory was completed.  To do this I selected to colour a range by year, based on finish date of the last full inventory (Figure 6).


last_inventory_yearFigure 56– Visual view of last full inventory on stands

What about looking at planned thinning operations? In Figure 7 I have selected planned thinning events and to display by planned start year. This quickly shows, what stands are planned for thinning over the next 4 years.



082013_2150_visuallyvie7Figure 7 – Visual view of thinning operations planned over next 4 years

Hopefully you get the idea that it is very simple to visualise forestry operations and forest state without the need to get a GIS analyst involved. This way supervisors and foresters can actively manage, check plans, and provide contractors and staff with dynamic maps of their estate rather than just a static forest map on the wall. This also emphasises the use of GeoMaster as the key planning tool in the organisation, visually reviewing your plans and budgets (yes, even the cost data is available to map).   Looking at a tailored map quickly ensures your plans make sense, which is sometimes part of the challenge!

Most of us will know, if you play with GIS tools long enough you can do this, especially if you’re familiar with GIS and have the time available. Trouble is this often results in a one off map (connecting and link databases, create and populate new attribute tables, create symbology and more), but the next time you need it, you need to go through and update it you need to go through and complete the entire process again.

If you want more information about using ATLAS GeoMaster in the cloud services provided by Interpine, feel free to contact us via our feedback form.