Why Invest in Tree Mapping Software?
January 23, 2020 | Written by Troy Ruiz
If you’re not a TreePlotter™ client, there’s a good chance you’ve received a call or email from either myself or my colleague, Aiden Smith. We’re the guys who some people might find annoying – you know those pesky sales people that bug you about the product or service they are trying to sell. Yep, we’re those guys (but hopefully not too annoying). We’re sales people; however, we’re also passionate about what we do, and we love talking about trees and technology.
While our marketing team does a phenomenal job educating the urban forestry world about what we do here at PlanIT Geo™ (the developers of TreePlotter), there are still many who are not quite familiar yet. That’s where Aiden and I come in. We reach out to get a conversation going with urban forestry professionals in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
Many folks in our industry know that it’s advantageous to map the trees they manage as well as collect information, such as species, condition, etc. After all, it’s hard to manage what you don’t know, right? Unfortunately, for the folks who have not adopted a functional tree inventory and mapping platform yet, the reasons are due to the various obstacles that get in their way.
What are the most common obstacles we hear? Cost and priority. If this is your situation, it might be worth asking yourself, and those in your organization, the following question:
“If our job is to manage trees, what are the long-term costs of NOT utilizing tree inventory and mapping technology to manage the trees we’re responsible for?”
One of the best parts about the conversations we have with people is hearing about some of the challenges they experience with managing trees. In one conversation with a tree care company owner in California, I was told that had he utilized tree mapping technology, he might have been able to avoid paying to replace a tree that his crew accidentally removed from an HOA property. If his crew had an exact GPS location of the correct tree that was to be removed, the mistake could have easily been avoided.
In another conversation with a grounds manager at a university in the South, I was told that the campus had many trees destroyed and damaged during a past ice storm. The state would have reimbursed this university for its loss if they had an inventory with an approximate appraised value of the trees. Unfortunately, this was not the case and the university missed out on reimbursement.
For many parks and urban forestry folks we talk to, time and financial resources dedicated to trees are scarce. They have a very limited budget and there are many things competing for their attention. Additionally, the managers that allocate funds to each department may view a tree inventory, and the software to manage the data, as an expensive luxury. Ironically, this is all the more reason to implement a tree inventory and mapping platform as soon as possible. Why?
Here are some of the most compelling reasons:
1. Efficiency and prioritization
If you ask a question about your tree population, such as “where are the trees with the highest risk of failure” in a particular section of a park, your tree inventory and mapping platform should be able to quickly and easily give you an answer. If you had an event going on in that same park soon, you’d know that addressing those trees would climb towards the top of your priority list.
2. Proof to justify your proposed budget
When making the case for a proposed budget, proving why your department needs a specific amount of money makes it more likely you’ll get it. Your tree inventory and mapping platform should be able to give you the information to help make your case for getting the funding your department needs.
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Your tree inventory and mapping platform should not only be able to quickly and easily answer a question about your tree population, it should also be able to show you. It is much easier to visualize tree data on a map than it is to stare at a spread sheet. This can also help make the seemingly daunting task of managing hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of trees a little less intimidating.
Do you have all the tools you need to help make your job easier, more efficient, and maybe even enjoyable?
If not, please reach out and learn more about what we do here at PlanIT Geo. We’re always looking to support people experiencing challenges with urban forestry and helping them explore ways to solve them.