The International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume XXXIX-B5
30 Jul 2012
 | 30 Jul 2012

Applications of Mobile GIS in Forestry South Australia

D. T. Battad and P. Mackenzie

Keywords: mobile GIS, GIS, GPS, wetlands, mapping, forest health, forestry

Abstract. South Australian Forestry Corporation (ForestrySA) had been actively investigating the applications of mobile GIS in forestry for the past few years. The main objective is to develop an integrated mobile GIS capability that allows staff to collect new spatial information, verify existing data, and remotely access and post data from the field. Two (2) prototype mobile GIS applications have been developed already using the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) ARCGISR technology as the main spatial component. These prototype systems are the Forest Health Surveillance System and the Mobile GIS for Wetlands System.

The Forest Health Surveillance System prototype is used primarily for aerial forest health surveillance. It was developed using a tablet PC with ArcMapR GIS. A customised toolbar was developed using ArcObjectsR in the Visual Basic 6 Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The resulting dynamic linked library provides a suite of custom tools which enables the following:
- quickly create spatial features and attribute the data
- full utilisation of global positioning system (GPS) technology
- excellent screen display navigation tools, i.e. pan, rotate map, capture of flight path
- seamless integration of data into GIS as geodatabase (GDB) feature classes
- screen entry of text and conversion to annotation feature classes

The Mobile GIS for Wetlands System prototype was developed for verifying existing wetland areas within ForestrySA’s plantation estate, collect new wetland data, and record wetland conditions. Mapping of actual wetlands within ForestrySA’s plantation estate is very critical because of the need to establish protection buffers around these features during the implementation of plantation operations. System development has been focussed on a mobile phone platform (HTC HD2R ) with WindowsR Mobile 6, ESRI’s ArcGISR Mobile software development kit (SDK) employing ArcObjectsR written on C#.NET IDE, and ArcGIS ServerR technology. The system is also implemented in the VILIVR X70. The system has undergone testing by ForestrySA staff and the refinements had been incorporated in the latest version of the system. The system has the following functionalities:
- display and query strategic data layers
- collect and edit spatial and attribute data
- full utilisation of global positioning GPS technology
- distance and area measurements
- display of high resolution imagery
- seamless integration of data into GIS as feature classes
- screen display and navigation tools, i.e. pan, zoom in/out, rotate map
- capture of flight path

The next stages in the development of mobile GIS technologies at ForestrySA are to enhance the systems’ capabilities as one of the organization main data capture systems. These include incorporating other applications, e.g. roads/tracks mapping, mapping of significant sites, etc., and migration of the system to Windows Phone7.