Simplifying Stand Management and Historical Data Visualization in Forestry

December 11, 2020

With an influx of technology adoption in the early 2000s, the highly-traditional forestry industry catapulted into the 21st century. Today, it’s almost impossible to operate without it - utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is undoubtedly necessary in today’s forestry world. And with more and more forest service professionals adopting drone technology, it’s only a matter of time before the tool becomes commonplace in the field, just as the chainsaw was so many years ago. DroneDeploy’s Esri integration provides the next step in streamlining forestry operations - offering simple stand management and historical data record-keeping all within one easy-to-use platform.

Esri's forestry management platform.
Esri's forestry management workflow on iOS. Photo credit: Esri

Accessing and Creating Data in Forestry

With an average stand housing 80-120 trees per acre, forestry workers must have access to a stand or inventory management platform. Esri’s ArcGIS software holds this data for current and future use, including information on stand boundaries and activities such as planting, harvesting, and documented chemical applications. Esri’s forestry management model even goes as far as letting users categorize and name their crops and species. After the stand has been harvested, the same is true for timber fields, giving users visualization of what has been cut down.

These operations are all made possible by aerial insights and other DroneDeploy features that measure tree health and height. DroneDeploy’s Thermal Live Map and multispectral imagery are crucial in evaluating a tree’s stress response, paving the way for a treatment plan to fix these issues. 3D stand models allow the user to measure tree height and estimate future production. Post-production, DroneDeploy is a valuable tool in analyzing performance to make adjustments for the next season. These insights include how the stand progressed, the loss from initial planting, and overall harvest compared to previous seasons.

DroneDeploy's Esri integration.
Serve your DroneDeploy maps onto Esri's ArcGIS platform. Photo credit: Esri

Visualizing Stand Boundaries & Activities

DroneDeploy provides the most up-to-date visual documentation of the stand itself. Since satellite images are frequently 6-12 months out of date, drone imagery presents a more reliable and current view of the site throughout every stage of the harvesting process. With this integration, users can automatically serve their DroneDeploy maps onto Esri’s ArcGIS platform. As an out-of-the-box solution, these maps are automatically sent to Esri the minute they’re done processing - so forestry professionals receive instant analysis. Since users no longer have to jump between multiple platforms, this integration offers the opportunity for company-wide visibility and a new sense of accountability.

Equipped with consistent, refreshed data, those in the forestry industry can make the best decisions for their timber investment. Collecting field data and accessing it both in the field and in the office strengthens an organization’s overall natural resources management by allowing everyone to monitor operations and analyze inventory. To put it simply, tracking forest assets and stand maturity with DroneDeploy’s Esri integration enables better forest management. If you’re interested in this integration, contact us to learn more, or download our free eBook on how drone data improves forecasting and enhances operations.

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