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GPS system for tree mapping

Posted by c2g 6 (My Page) on
Mon, Nov 18, 13 at 8:49

Hi, I've been doing tree plantings with a Friends group for a few years now. We just planted 7 trees over the weekend and aside from a branch ribbon or relying on who was there when it was planted, we have no way of keeping track of plantings.

I've never used anything but my phone for a GPS. Wondering if there's a device out there that would allow us to get exact locations for the trees so we could start monitoring their progress. I also run the group's website, and being able to generate data to display on a map would be nice.

Any suggestions?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: GPS system for tree mapping

That is a neat idea!

Perhaps one of the hiking geared gps units would be best? If I remember some have topography built in.


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RE: GPS system for tree mapping

Should be able to use a stand alone GPS unit to mark them on Google Maps/Earth. Will still be subject to certain limitations (i.e. within 30 feet), but probable good enough. To go below 30' would be VERY expensive. Just so that you know, the tech is able to go well below 30', but the limitations are due to the fact that GPS is a military system, and that is the limit they set for non-military uses.

You could also just place markers manually in Goggle Earth using the Satellite Photography. I've done that many times.

Arktrees


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RE: GPS system for tree mapping

This is slightly different from what you are looking at, but is some ways appropriate.

Using Google Earth you should be able to locate the position of the tree you planted with or with out GPS. Find the general area where the tree was planted and zoom into the area and find the nearly exact the location where you planted the tree.

You can increase the accuracy of the position by measuring from two hard object that can be seen in Google Earth to the tree, then transfer those measurements to the Google Earth using the measuring function in Google earth. You can measure things in Google earth to the nearest foot..

Once you locate the trees you planted in Google Earth place a Placemark at the site of each tree. In the Placemark description you can place all of the statistics about the tree.

While I have never seen, you can back up all of this information, and transfer it to other computers with Google Earth.

These two files contain that information myplaces.backup.kml and myplaces.kml

Copy them to the folder you want to use as a back up or copy them in the same Google directory on the other computer. If you install Google Earth you will be over writing the ones created on installation.

In Window 8.1 they are located in
C:\Users\account \AppData\LocalLow\Google\GoogleEarth

Account is the name of the user account.

If you have an earlier version of Windows they are in the Application data. Or you can search for them use the above file name. I transferred the information to my Windows 8.1 computer from and Windows XP computer using this technique.

I have used this exact procedure to locate ancestors graves to archive the location.

I hope this proves to be useful.

This post was edited by knuttle on Mon, Nov 18, 13 at 13:02


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RE: GPS system for tree mapping

knuttle, went into far more detail than I did, but he is talking about the same thing as I am. Another possibility is to take a picture from your smartphone with geo tagging turned on, then uploading these to Google user account. This can be used to tag a location in Google Maps with the picture attached to that location and you can name it whatever you like. )Perhaps the species. This would have the added advantage of being able put photos in showing a sequence of development over time.

Whatever you do, it would be advisable to maintain a data base of what was planted, and when at the least. Then you could add things like by who, soil conditions, weather conditions etc as you see fit.

Arktrees


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RE: GPS system for tree mapping

"You can measure things in Google earth to the nearest foot."

I've read that measurements (absolute coordinates) on Google Earth can be shifted by quite a distance. I'm interested to know if this one foot information is now true. Where'd you get that information?


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RE: GPS system for tree mapping

The one foot comes from the measurement tool in Google Earth. It is actually marked to the tenth of a foot, but measurements are less accurate because of the angle the pictures were take. Some times it is difficult to find the exact edge of a house because of the shadows caused by the photo angle. I have been recently doing some construction on our property and landscape it is surprising the accuracy you can get from Google Earth.

While viewing the location in Google Earth where you intend to plant the trees, selecting hard objects to measure from. Once the tree is planted take measurement from the tree to those objects.

Using the Google Earth measuring device find the location where the tree is planted and place the Placemark.

Personally I believe 1 foot is over kill. When you plant the tree you are going to consider canopy diameter. For most trees this will be a circle greater that 10 foot, so the location to the foot is unnecessary. All you need to do is get some where with in the canopy diameter to identify the tree.


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RE: GPS system for tree mapping

Well absolute location and distance between two points is a very different thing. The OP wanted a way to track where the trees were for future reference. Measuring distance away from things may not be all that helpful, depending on what else is around the sites.

In my case, I'd like to find a way to accurately map plantings in my arboretum. I would love to have a cheap way to get absolute coordinates for each plant. One of these days (I predict soon) a pretty exact GPS locator should be in everyone's hands (in their cellphones), and it would be very easy to ID each plant by its exact coordinates. Even in the mean time, I'd like to be able to use GPS to make an accurate map.


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RE: GPS system for tree mapping

Man, down to the foot would be amazing and creepy at the same time.

Using cell GPS and picture taggine was a good isea. I would expect to be able to find the four corners and center of my acre yard but not identify which hosta was which.


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RE: GPS system for tree mapping

Have you done any zone pushing?


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RE: GPS system for tree mapping

I use a Garmin GPS for cars. I walk up to the tree and click on the car on the screen and am able to name that location (with viewable coordinates.) I returned to one of the trees and when I was standing in front of it within a few feet the GPS started talking and said: "arriving at Juglans regia 'Broadview'. I'll be damned if it wasn't dead on.

Dax


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RE: GPS system for tree mapping

"To go below 30' would be VERY expensive."

Not sure what you mean...according to this page:
http://blogs.esri.com/esri/arcgis/2013/07/15/smartphones-tablets-and-gps-accuracy/

1m accuracy should not be too hard to obtain, most of the time...around $100:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zy_0N6MyI0uSwZMPoEK5O8EmLZeHfERRlDIoiRw2bR0/edit?pli=1


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RE: GPS system for tree mapping

Even using my el-cheapo smartphone's GPS, I just did a test using an app called "GPS essentials" which tags pictures to create a KML file, which you can then load into Google Earth. The accuracy was about 3-15 feet.
I want something similar but more just to create a coordinate system for my garden, so I can make a note of where I planted something down to, well, 5 to 10 feet of accuracy.


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