Review existing conditions carry out field visits II

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{{#customtitle: Review existing conditions and carry out field visits - part II.}}

This exercise is included in the tutorial: GeoAgro for FMP Development

The inventory of existing conditions involve gathering a variety of information, focusing on identifying resource concerns, assess these concerns and opportunity for treatment. The inventory will typically include forest management unit and stand boundaries, site index, basal area, species, size class, wood product potential, soil conditions, slopes, topography, aspect, natural and cultural features, roads, wildfire risk (surface and crown fires), risk of insect and disease infestation, fish and wildlife species and habitat elements, noxious and invasive species, water quality and other important features as applicable.

The guidelines for carrying out inventories and reviewing existing conditions may be reviewed in the Electronic Field Office Technical Guide (eFotg) and State recommendations.
In this learning guide we will review some features and examples that may be useful in the inventory proces:

  • How to import GPS points that you gathered in your field visit.
  • Then we will learn how to transform points into your map features, such as forest stands, trails, or other features.
  • We will also digitize a management unit, and enter data, such as basal area, average tree diamater, or stocking level

Note Note: This is one of the few exercises for which sample data is not provided, as you need a GPS device connected to the computer in order to work on the exercise. The same step-by-step method with sample data will be used to present the exercise, but in order to work on it you will need to connect your GPS and unload personal data that you have already gathered.




Exercise 01 – Importing GPS points from your field visit

GIS gis Init 03 01.jpg

Start GeoAgro GIS by double clicking on its icon at your desktop;
You may also run it by using the Windows®

Start menu.
The Project Selection window will pop up. Select the 'Sample FMP' project that you restored in the initial project setup

The GPS Module will allow you to download to your computer the data you gathered in your field visit and load it to new layers in the GIS. Waypoints, tracks, and routes can also be defined and transferred to the navigation device to be then used on site.

To begin using the module you need to activate the corresponding tab.

Import data from your field visit
  1. Click on the 'Connect to GPS Device' icon  GIS gis Navi 09 01.jpg  to automatically connect the GPS Module with the portable GPS navigation device connected to the computer (no previous configuration required). 
  2. Activate the Waypoints layer. Geoagro GIS will perform a search for all the Waypoints stored in the GPS device.
    Import data from your field visit
  3. Then click on the Download Objects from the GPS Device tool Image:GIS_gps_Tool_01_01.jpg. A window will open displaying the progress of the operation. When completed, the downloaded objects will appear on the working window.
    Import data from your field visit

    Click to see full size

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Exercise 02 - Convert data from GPS waypoints to a map feature

In the previous exercise you collected waypoints from your GPS device. Now we are going to review an example where those points are converted to a polygon to define a trail, for instance.

  1. Go to the Selection Tools menu.
    Mapping 1.jpg
    You can use the Rectangle Selection tool Image:GIS_gis_Navi_01c_01.jpg by clicking on it and dragging it to enclose the waypoints.
    The waypoints should appear highlighted as shown below:
  2. Next, click on the Convert Points into a Curve tool Image:GIS_gps_Tool_05_01.jpg The next window will allow you to set the sequence of waypoints in order.

    Please Note: By default, Geoagro GIS displays waypoints in the order in which they were marked on site, so the tracks connecting the waypoints may form some triangulations or intersections. Select waypoints one by one in the Convert Points… window (each selected waypoint will be highlighted in blue) and change their position on the list by using the up Image:GIS_gps_Bar_05_02A.jpg and down Image:GIS_gps_Bar_05_02B.jpg arrows on the right, until you set the correct sequence to close the shape of the facility or parcel.

  3. Next, click on Accept to complete this operation. The line for the trail has been created.

Note Note: If a waypoint that doesn't belong in the polygon is selected, click on the Mapping 25.jpg tool to unmark it.

Exercise 03 - Export the defined trail to GIS Module

Now we are going to import the trail line created in the previous exercise into a GIS Layer 'Trail'

  1. Click on the Drop down selection menu Mapping , click on the "Rectangle selection" Mapping and then click on the line to select it. The line will be highlighted.
  2. Click on the Export to GIS Module Image:GIS_gps_Tool_08_01.jpg tool.
    Please Note: If you have selected one or more objects, Geoagro GIS will ask you whether you wish to export only the selected objects or all the objects in that layer. Select the appropriate option and then click on Accept.
    In the “Export to GIS module”, export to the “Property boundaries” layer.
    In the “Import layer” window, do not match any attributes.
  3. Click on the “GIS” tab to go to the GIS module, and you would see the trail similar to the picture below.

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Convert points into a polygon

Exercise 04 – Digitizing management units and entering data

In this exercise we will digitize three management units based on aerial imagery, and enter forest stand attributes. As part of the sample dataset, we have included a layer 'Mgmt Units_Sample' to show the management unit polygons and associated data that we will create in this exercise

Turn on the 'Mgmt Units_Sample' Layer by clicking on the eye icon of the layer Image:Layer_Mgmt_Units_Sample.jpg

it shows the three management units that we will create in this exercise

Click to see full size

Turn off the 'Mgmt Units_Sample' Layer by clicking on the eye icon of the layer again.

Digitize management units

  1. Make sure that the background imagery is on by clicking on the eye of the 'WMS 2ft Color Imagery' layer Image:Layer_WMS_2ft.jpg
  2. We are going to use the Land Unit boundaries (in the Fields_NRCS layer) as a basis for drawing our Management Units. Click on the 'Field_NRCS' layer to make it active Image:Layer_Fields_NRCS.jpg
  3. Choose the Point selection tool Image:GIS_gis_Navi_01a_01.jpg from the Selection Tools in the 'Navigation panel'.

  4. Click on the Land Unit to select it.
    FMP Review Conditions II 09.jpg

  5. In the Edit Objects Panel Image:GIS_gis_Edit_05_01.jpg and then click on the tool Copy Object Image:GIS_gis_Edit_05d_01.jpg.

  6. select 'Mgmt Units' as target layer and click on copy.

  7. Now, lets divide the recently created polygon in three management units. Click on the 'Mgmt Units' layer to make it active
  8. Choose the Point selection tool Image:GIS_gis_Navi_01a_01.jpg from the Selection Tools in the 'Navigation panel'.

  9. Click on the Mgmt Unit polygon to select it.
    FMP Review Conditions II 11.jpg

  10. In the Edit Objects Panel Image:GIS_gis_Edit_05_01.jpg click on the tool Divide Object Image:GIS_gis_Edit_05d_01.jpg.

  11. Start drawing a dividing line, using the background imagery for guidance, to draw an approximate boundary around the Forest Stand.
    FMP Review Conditions II 12.jpg

  12. When you have finished, double click OUTSIDE the polygon, to divide it.
  13. Repeat the operation to create a third management unit, as shown in the figure. Now we have the three management units for our FMP.
    FMP Review Conditions II 08.jpg

Enter Forest Stand Attributes for our Management Units

  1. Make sure that the Layer 'Mgmt Units' is active by clicking on it

  2. Choose the Rectangle selection tool Image:GIS_gis_Navi_01a_01.jpg  from the Selection Tools in the 'Navigation toolbar' to select the three Mgmt Units where we will enter information.

  3. Click on the edit object data tool Image:GIS_gis_Edit_05d_01.jpg. When you click on each record, the corresponding field is highlighted in red.
    FMP Review Conditions II 13.jpg

  4. Update attributes with the information shown in the table below:
Cabin Brook 125 489 0 Overstocked 27
The Pasture 0 0 0

Cathedral Woods 75 255 0 Below optimal stocking 18

If you would like to label the three management units, you may use the follow instructions from the Edit Layer Properties tool Image:GIS_gis_Edit_03_01.jpg. This is reviewed in this Learning Guide: Document your Plan.