Forestry Timber Cruising App – MT DNRC

GCS worked with Montana DNRC to create a NextGen Cruising application based on ArcGIS Enterprise concepts and architecture.

NextGen Cruising app is a web-application-based “cruise design and reporting” interface.  Plot allocation, data validation, and compilation are done via Python Geoprocessing modules published as a service.  The “system” uses either an ArcGIS Portal to manage hosted services and web maps used for offline, field data collection using ArcGIS Field Maps mobile app.

Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation (DNRC) manages timber assets on over 700,000 acres of School Trust Lands. GCS developed a solution to allow timber inventory to be accomplished internally through field data devices, GIS, and server-based data systems.

Forestry Timber Cruise App with Esri Collector for ArcGIS
Forestry Timber Cruise App with Esri ArcGIS Field Maps mobile app.

GCS developed a custom ArcGIS Field Maps mobile app running on Apple iPads for timber cruise designs and data compilation, all integrated with a customized ArcGIS Online web application called NextGen Cruiser.

DNRC Forestry Timber Cruise App

The management of Montana’s forested trust lands is to maximize long-term revenue while promoting healthy and diverse forests. Revenue from forested trust lands is mainly derived from the sale of forest products. GCS’s custom tools have allowed DNRC to meet its legislative mandate to maintain inventory of forested trust lands and meet harvest volume goals.

NextGen Cruiser relies upon a customized ArcGIS Online web application interface for designing timber cruises, preparing the data for ArcGIS Field Maps mobile app and compiling/reporting results.

The field data is collected using ESRI’s ArcGIS Field Maps mobile app application on mobile devices.

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After the initial success of NextGen Cruiser, GCS implemented additional geoprocessing tools and web maps/web applications that enhance DNRC’s workflow.

Functionality includes; Proposed Harvest Units, Old-Growth Cruise Design & Reporting, Regen Cruise Design & Reporting, Plot Allocation Flexibility, Individual Tree Volume Calculation.

Out of all the GIS/Web applications that we are using today, NextGen Cruiser has been our most reliable and raved about.  Since the initial 2015 release, we have contracted with GCS to make incremental enhancements and improvements.  This platform has been used on hundreds of DNRC timber cruise projects without ANY issues.  We found GCS to be:  easy to communicate with, conscientious and mindful of budget and timelines, willing to provide advice when they discovered a better/more efficient way of accomplishing a task, very supportive after the release to fix bugs…

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Mark Slaten, Forest Informatics Analyst, Montana DNRC

NextGen Cruiser Platform:

  • ArcGIS Online (hosted) or Portal (hosted or in house) based system
    • Authorization and artifacts are managed via the organization enterprise accounts
    • Could be hidden behind or integrated with other SAML based system if required
  • Requires an ArcGIS Enterprise Server instance for Geoprocessing Services.
  • Web application features
    • cruise definition and management
    • cruise polygon editing and configuration, includes upload from shapefiles, import from feature service
    • automated plot generation
    • manual plot editing
    • generate field collection artifacts
    • post field collection validation
    • compile initialization
    • reporting tables
    • export to excel
  • System generates feature and geoprocessing services for integration with ArcGIS desktop products
  • Field collection via ArcGIS Field Maps mobile app
    • Customized mobile application possible for additional build out
  • Compiling/Volumizing/Merchandizing modules for Old Growth, Volume and Regen cruise types based on Montana DNRC methodologies
    • All computational models, math algorithms, etc. are “plug-in-play” adaptable.  Custom versions can be added to existing framework
  • Management tools for download, backup etc.

Contact GCS for a demonstration.

DNRC NextGen Forestry Cruiser app

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