LIVERMORE, Calif. – The University of Massachusetts (UMass) uses Topcon’s GMS-2 Pro GIS data recorder, and TreeWorks software in a comprehensive tree inventory project on its campus in Amherst, Massachusetts. 

The UMass inventory is a benchmark project aimed at gathering a comprehensive inventory including photographs of notable trees in different seasons.

The Kenerson Group’s TreeWorks tree inventory management software was specified as the platform for the initial inventory and ongoing management activities.  Trees New England won the bid to conduct the inventory and owner and consulting arborist, Melissa LeVangie, began the inventory.

“Photography was a sticking point for the data collection and field operations.  Having to record photo numbers on secondary equipment or worse, on paper logs was a logistical nightmare.  The capability to collect pictures on the same hand held unit was a huge benefit.  The smooth transition of syncing individual or multiple photos with same tree file relieved major data logistic headaches and eliminated post data processing,” said UMass spokesperson Melissa LeVangie.

“The Topcon GMS-2 Pro handheld device supplied to us after we began the project changed all that. It was so easy to capture photographs as part of the inventory collection process that it no longer made sense not to do it.” The built–in laser range finder, coupled with the onboard digital camera also allowed the unit to be used to gather accurate height, crown-spread and trunk diameter at breast height (DBH) and instantly integrate that data with the tree record.

LeVangie said the survey team quickly adapted to GMS-2 Pro and TreeWorks software and was “immediately able to develop a richer data set for each inventoried tree.”

LeVangie said she was impressed with the accuracy of the GIS unit as well as her “ability to actually see the screen of the GMS-Pro in bright sunlight. Even under canopy, the accuracy of positioning data from the GMS-2 Pro was exceptional.  With other GPS devices we often had to cross-check the positioning data against an aerial photo,” she said.  “With the Topcon unit, we can do away with the maps in the field, saving a lot of time.”

Summing up the project, LeVangie said, “With TreeWorks and the Topcon GMS-2 Pro, it takes less time to gather and synchronize more accurate data, adding tremendous value to the whole inventory.”

Topcon’s Richard Rybka, GIS partner development manager, said, “Topcon and the Kenerson Group formed a strategic GIS OEM partnership for urban forestry and arboriculture applications in 2008 as part of the Topcon GIS Business Partnership program.  The UMass tree inventory project is a perfect example of why the partnership was formed.

“UMass will find that using TreeWorks integrated with Topcon’s GMS-2 Pro will provide a labor-saving solution.”