We look at some of the latest technological advancements available to the arb sector. While the real work may happen on the ground (or up a tree) there is no doubt each of these tools can make a big difference to an arborist's effectiveness.


Forestry Journal:

EARLY detection of decline in tree health and the presence of deadwood is very important for the management of factors impacting tree health, mitigation of risks from tree branch failure, and measurement of fire risk.

The traditional approach to surveying trees, including number, size and health, has involved the establishment of forest inventory plots across an estate, and extrapolation of the data to provide a measure or estimate for the entire area. This approach has major limitations when there is a high degree of variability or impacting factors are not localised.

Remote sensing is a tool that has been used successfully in forestry for decades using a wide range of platforms (e.g. satellites, planes, drones/UAVs) and sensors (e.g. LiDAR, hyperspectral, multispectral) to measure vegetation traits.

If requiring measurement of individual trees and saplings, satellites may not be suitable, due to their limited spatial resolution, and other factors such as cloud limit the number of opportunities to acquire high quality data.

Drones or UAVs have been seen as an accessible and affordable solution to acquire very high resolution data of individual trees and small stands. They also, however, have many limitations. These include their daily coverage not exceeding several hundred hectares per day, expense when scaling across larger areas and tightening regulations on where they can fly.

An alternative solution is the use of sensors onboard manned aircraft. Analysis of very high resolution (sub 10 cm) imagery across the visible (VIS) to infrared (IR) region of the spectrum with the ArborCam mounted in a manned aircraft has achieved high accuracy for early detection of decline in tree health. A range of indices are utilised, including the most commonly known Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). However, other indices are often shown to produce far better results.

Machine learning methods of this very high resolution multispectral imagery have proven highly accurate when detecting exposed wood in crowns and on the ground. This approach can greatly assist with the detection of trees with thinning crowns and branch dieback, such as those suffering from abiotic and biotic factors like pest attack, disease and drought. It can also be used for the estimation of forest fire fuel loads and habitat mapping.

The ArborCam is an 11-band sensor acquiring data across the visible (VIS) to infrared (IR) region and is exclusive to ArborFlight for operations throughout the UK and Europe.



Forestry Journal:

TREEPLOTTER Software Suite is designed to offer the latest in web, mobile, and GIS technologies in urban parks, forestry, and arboriculture. Created by PlanIT Geo, an urban forestry software and consulting firm, TreePlotter has been built by certified arborists and GIS experts.

INVENTORY, JOBS, PARKS, and CANOPY software products are map-based and enable data visualisation to better collect, manage, share, and achieve your urban greening goals. Its UK-dedicated support staff is on hand to help you every step of the way, while the web-based platform allows API and WFS integrations, so customers can use TreePlotter exclusively or integrate with an existing technology stack. Your data is held securely in the cloud locally in the UK.

 TreePlotter INVENTORY (best suited to local authorities, county councils, housing associations, private companies, charities and universities) is used globally as a comprehensive GIS software application for field data collection and inventory data management. But the value of INVENTORY is so much more: dashboard, standard and configurable reports, complete works history, advanced queries on datasets, map sharing, and customised account administration.

Unlimited users have convenient access via any web device and can use INVENTORY to provide access to tree maps, improve outreach, and manage risks and liabilities.

Customisation and add-on module opportunities include development survey, works order management, offline collector, eco benefits, tree appraisal, advanced risk assessment, custom landing page, tree tours, and API and WFS integrations.

The TreePlotter software platform offers Development Survey, an add-on module based on BS 5837, explicitly built for consultants working on development sites. This provides all the tools they need to meet and exceed the requirements set out in BS 5837. This tool allows you to accurately map tree canopies, root protection areas, and import or export CAD files, all while in the field.

The imported CAD files are visible as reference layers in the map. The GIS-based, all-in-one software solution gives you the ability to plot any tree, hedgerow, group of trees or woodland that could be affected during the design, demolition or construction phase of any development. Communication and clarity are handled quickly and easily with the ability to import data directly into reports within the TreePlotter platform, eliminating the hassle of back and forth to create accurate and engaging reports.

TreePlotter JOBS was built and designed specifically for tree surgery businesses looking to grow. It is cloud-based, mobile friendly, and includes powerful features to map trees, create and send modern estimates, and schedule and assign work orders.

JOBS creates an intuitive and enjoyable experience, providing your company and clients with online access to view and approve professional electronic proposals. Take clients on a ‘virtual walk-through’ with easy to use tree maps corresponding to proposed work. Win more work while improving production efficiencies with a modern estimation, scheduling, and works order system.



Forestry Journal:

ARBORTRACK’S servers ensure seamless communication between desktop and field-based operations. The field-based modules are further simplified by the use of Surveyor or Contractor applications focusing on the specific requirements of each of the disciplines.

When using the field-based modules, should the operative enter an area where the mobile signal is poor, Arbortrack will advise them of the situation and proceed in cached mode until a good signal area is reached when all cached data can be uploaded.

Since entering the live environment in order to keep ahead of the latest software advances in both Android and iOS, it has been necessary to maintain an active R&D schedule just to keep abreast of developments in the pen tablet world. To ensure this is achieved, 16 upgrades have been released during 2019.

The next upgrade of Arbortrack Web will enable organisations to view key performance indicators (KPI) to monitor how well their contractors or in-house operatives are performing.

The number of international markets Arbortrack operates in has led its species library on a never-ending journey. Just how many species of Eucalyptus and Palm trees can there be? Fortunately, other than the mobile telephone masts disguised as trees, we do not come across too many steel species as shown below.

Arbortrack’s total number of users in the UK and internationally broke the 700 barrier this year, with 762 users as of 30 October 2019.



Forestry Journal:

IF you are a professional arboricultural consultant, working with a range of clients to produce survey reports, you need the right tools for the job.

As a map, you may be given a CAD drawing from an architect, or have to source your own map data. You need to save time to be competitive, but also produce professional looking results. You may need some training and ongoing support and you want to use the most suitable survey hardware. You have your own ideas on survey format, but a wide range of available templates and free software to facilitate creating or revising surveys would be helpful.

Pear Technology has been providing survey solutions to arboricultural consultants for 15 years, but the software and hardware have changed greatly over that time. Its online map shop enables you to identify and source Ordnance Survey map data accurately, easily and economically.

As well as training and support, there is a series of very short YouTube videos to assist with individual tasks, such as importing CAD drawings (search YouTube for “peartechnologyhelp”).

After sourcing your map, it can be transferred with survey templates to your handheld device. The survey can be performed on any Android phone, tablet or Windows 10 tablet. The devices supplied by Pear Technology can plot down to 30 cm, or even 2.5 cm accuracy, if needed.

The output of the field survey can be used to create whatever map and survey reports are required. The TreeMinder software facilitates report production, one customer recently commenting: “The time saving is phenomenal!”

The flexibility of Pear Technology mapping software means it is employed by a wide variety of users, including in forestry management, estate management, local councils, hospitals and universities.

This means the company regularly receives enquiries from such organisations, wanting to know the details of arboricultural consultants who use Pear Technology. It also means that Pear Technology is used by ecological consultants, which enables close working on development projects.

Pear Technology offers free trials of software and hardware. It also provides full training and ongoing support, to ensure that you achieve the results that you need.

For further details, discussion or a free trial, contact Jonathan Smith at jsmith@peartechnology.co.uk or call 023 9249 9689.


Forestry Journal:

EZYTREEV is a tree, TPO and asset management system recognised for delivering an efficient data collection, inventory analysis and maintenance of trees and physical assets located within urban and surrounding green areas.

It is largely used by local authorities such as county or city councils and their contractors, housing associations, universities, zoos and large independent consultancies.

Ezytreev is modular in design, which makes it perfectly scalable to any organisation’s requirements and budgets. Starting from the inventory and analysis database which is operational on its own, it can be extended further into a fully comprehensive management system by including its specialised add-on modules.

The system is feature-rich, allowing users to:

Carry out systematic data collection and analysis on a large number of trees or assets.

Store tree records and easily retrieve and display all the required technical inspections, with ability to attach image files to records.

Forecast future workloads and justify budgets based on maintenance regimes and inspection results.

Communicate with contractors, generate schedules and track work orders.

Provide feedback to individuals responsible for tree/asset care or maintenance.

Record and progress tree-related enquiries including an ability to integrate with corporate CRM systems.

Calculate tree risk, based on an industry-recognised methodology or a user-defined risk system.

Determine the amenity value of trees /the total value of the tree stock.

Set up customisable data fields and generate customisable reports allowing users to tailor the data format to meet their data collection or analysis needs.

The system is cloud-based and delivered via the internet. It is accessible from both web and conventional interfaces. Ezytreev integrates with GIS mapping showing tree/asset location and it is optimised for the use on desktop and mobile. It is available on Android, Apple iOS or Windows 10 devices. Ezytreev has a user-friendly, intuitive and easy to navigate interface.

Ezytreev’s integrated SmartSync system allows on-site data collection with the reassurance that work is never suspended due to limitations on connectivity to the internet. Anyone working in the field has full access to all trees/assets/TPOs and all mapping at all times.

A consistent performance and active commitment to customer service has made Ezytreev the market-leading software in the UK and Ireland urban tree management industry for over 20 years.

For more information please visit www.ezytreev.com, contact 0330 223 1133 or email info@ezytreev.com.


Forestry Journal:

2EXCEL Geo operates a unique airborne survey capability for bespoke collection and analysis of forests across the UK. The system provides an economically viable means of large area data collection for tree mapping and monitoring. The advanced hyperspectral imaging technology carried on the aircraft provides valuable information about the biochemical and structural properties of tree canopies.

Individual trees are mapped and delineated to provide the user with a base map to which further information about each tree can be attributed, such as crown dimensions or tree height.

Each tree can also be assessed for symptoms of stress and ill-health through the assessment of the airborne hyperspectral imagery. This assessment utilises fundamental scientific principles regarding the interaction of light with the tree canopies to identify changes such as discolouration, thinning or defoliation of the canopy.

The health assessment can subsequently be used to assign a health score to each individual tree. This simple scoring system can be used to provide an overview of tree stock vitality. The health scores can also be displayed spatially across large scales to provide an overview of tree vitality and highlight hot spots of poor health related to the occurrence of pests and diseases or unfavourable growing conditions.

The digital nature of the tree health map means it can be viewed in a range of geospatial software. In addition, the map can be integrated with other information that may inform risk management. For example, the proximity of unhealthy trees to key infrastructure such as power cables, roads or railways could also be considered to inform tree management decision making.