2022 Q4 Prism Update

Below are some of the new features and enhancements recently rolled out to the Prism mobile and web apps:

  • Configurable equations for any market.
  • Configurable integration with Intuit’s Quickbase.
  • Improved nested subplot functionality.
  • Real time reporting in Microsoft Power BI.
  • Stratify and workup cruises with any polygon layer.
  • Report templates.
  • Support for dark mode on Apple devices.
  • Dozens of fixes and usability improvements.

Coming Soon:

  • Limiting distance calculator for mobile app.
  • Various performance improvements.

Important Planet Labs Update

Images streamed in real time and apps which are always getting better represent the best of cloud computing and software as a service. To improve the user experience, Planet has recently updated the toolbar (Add-In) for ArcGIS Pro.   The Pro toolbar is the tool of choice for foresters get to their Planet imagery into the same environment as business data like stands, harvest and site prep areas.

A few highlights on the update:

  • The whole interface is redesigned to be more visual and intuitive.
  • There is a new button for Planet Tasking to more easily find your SkySat requests.
  • Improved means to add good images into the map to make stand updates or measure acres.
  • Ability to save searches with criteria like cloud percent and overlap with the stand or tract of interest.

 

Get the New Planet Add-In
(note, you may need to log into ArcGIS Online to access the Add-In; those of you with groups shared with SFC will see the Add-In item in the group)

Grow and Thrive with Software that’s Alive!

By Mike Berzinis II, RF, CSM.

Running your business on dead software is frustrating. Dead software may be real hard to use compared to apps on your phone, or lack regular updates which keep it relevant. Software limping along on its last legs causes one to miss out on time saving automations, modern usability and increased information usefulness. Reliance on dead tech is particularly risky because it is not keeping with the times from a security standpoint.

“Redefining Forest Technology” is about living technology alternatives which reduce risks and meet the growing information demands of the business world.

As part of the Prism software user community, you automatically benefit from enhancements users like you have requested. As “alive” technology, Prism is up to date, secure and continuously provides new value over time. Hit the link below to see a video highlighting some of the hundreds of time saving capabilities brought to Prism just this year.

Welcome to Prism!

Redefining Forest Technology is about enabling forestry and natural resources businesses with the tools to function in the digital age – learn more at our website at the link below:

Redefining Forest Technology

Mike leads SFC’s Geospatial business line and is a military veteran with over 20 years experience in forestry technology.

Are You Maximizing Potential During Reforestation?

Common responses when landowners discuss options for reforestation are, “I will never reap the benefits of the investment” or “I want to minimize costs because it will be so long before I can harvest.” Every situation is unique. Landowners must consider time frame, capital availability and allocation, current and future ownership arrangements, market dynamics, and other objectives that may or may not be financial. Did you know that there are opportunities for shortening the rotation age (date of final harvest) of a timber stand? How complicated can it be? Trees are planted and the owner waits for many years until the timber is suitable for harvesting. Sounds straight forward, however several factors are at play when planning and implementing a reforestation project. Let’s take a deeper dive into these considerations.

Species.  While the site conditions such as soils, topography, and drainage certainly dictate the species chosen at establishment, landowner objectives also drive the ultimate decision on species selection. What is the real motivation for establishing a stand of timber? Is it strictly the performance of the investment? Are wildlife habitat concerns equally important? Is some other non-timber product like pine straw a factor in the investment strategy? Are aesthetics of the timber stand crucial to long-term success? These questions embody the landowner’s vision and goals for the site. Site conditions at times limit options for species selection. Nutrient deficient sites may require slower-growing species that survive in harsher conditions. Sites prone to periods of flooding require species that can best withstand inundation. For most reforestation projects, species selection is the first decision to be considered, and it facilitates the decision-making process for the other components covered below.

Site Preparation.  Although a clear-cut area planned for reforestation may appear to be a clean slate, Mother Nature is never at rest and awaits new opportunities to utilize space and resources. Site preparation techniques must be tailored to address the species that will occupy this “clean slate” and ultimately compete with the newly planted trees. What are the primary species to control? Can they be controlled with an herbicide application? What mixture of herbicides will address the species of concern? Will mechanical site preparation be necessary to address certain species? Is burning before planting an option for the site? Does the site’s hydrology require physical amending to prevent flooding of seedlings? These are just a few of the considerations that must be evaluated months before a seedling is ever planted. Research indicates that appropriate site preparation will increase volume production and reduce a stand’s rotation age by several years. Insufficient site preparation often results in additional costs within ten years of establishment to prevent the complete loss of the investment. It is imperative to consider the minimum, necessary site preparation requirements for the establishment of a timber stand, but it is wise to consider what your budget may allow above and beyond the bare necessities.

Seedling Genetics.  Genetic improvement in seedlings began in the middle of the twentieth century and has now reached a level that allows landowners and foresters many options for improving performance. Some of the tree characteristics favored when making selections are quite intuitive such as stem straightness and growth rate, but have you ever thought about breeding a tree so that the angle of the branches creates smaller knots upon natural pruning? Have you ever considered that selecting a top performer in growth that is prone to specific diseases in your geographic area may prevent your investment from ever maximizing its genetic potential? Genetics selections are generally available to match most considerations including budget, geographic location, and market opportunities. Proper selections can improve your investment’s performance by at least thirty to forty percent, but a proper investment in genetics may not mean the most expensive seedlings. In some geographic regions of the US Southeast timber markets are very limited, so choosing the most expensive seedlings that have “all the bells and whistles” is a waste of your budget that could be allocated to another component of the reforestation project. Working closely with your forestry consultant to determine the appropriate investment in genetically improved seedling stock will help ensure you are maximizing potential.

The old adage about “cutting corners” during the establishment of a stand of timber is not justifiable when we have the ability to influence so many components and ultimately reduce the amount of time to achieve financial return on the investment. By carefully evaluating species, site preparation, and the genetic quality of the seedling stock selected, the rotation age of a timber stand can be reduced substantially while additionally improving the stand quality. While these three components are most important, other options should be considered. For example, fertilization and post-establishment herbicide applications can increase growth and yield, shorten rotation length, and enhance return on investment in some instances.

While foresters often joke about gauging success during reforestation by observing, “green side up and roots in the ground” when referring to seedlings, this does little more than generate a laugh.  Decisions during the establishment of a stand of timber should be carefully considered with the same due diligence that any investment would be given.  These decisions should be made to maximize the effectiveness of the available budget, should be tailored specifically to landowner objectives, and should integrate the different components of the project discussed here to utilize the full potential of the site.  Let’s change the narrative from, “I’ll never reap the benefits of the investment” to “how can I reduce the rotation age of my investment and generate returns as soon as possible.”  Through an understanding of these dynamic systems, opportunities to improve performance are more available now than ever before.

 

Cloud Computing Part II – Meeting the increasing demand for useful information

By Mike Berzinis II, RF, CSM

In this post, we share practical ways cloud computing is helping forestry and natural resources organizations function in the digital age.   

The future of business will be information driven.

Business owners and managers are experiencing rapidly increasing demands for information – a trend that’s expected to continue.

A successful strategy for information supports growth, the ability to work from anywhere (like necessitated during COVID), the delivery of new services for existing customers or simply to increase employee quality of life by reducing tedious data entry.

Data is like a green log, information is like lumber which is ready to use.

Data rich and information poor.

Data which does not function as “useful” information for answers and decisions is a source of frustration and lost time. The quote “Data rich and information poor” (Waterman, R. 1982) refers to being rich with data which is not easily turned into information of value.

You may be information poor if your systems formed incrementally over time where the parts do not function together as a whole (e.g. they’re fragmented).

Are your personal digital photos “useful information” or just data?

Digital photos (data) on a hard drive in a desk drawer are of limited use, whereas photos on a smart phone are easily used by just about anyone.  A digital photo taken with a smart phone has utility which was difficult to “picture” 15 years ago when most people had point and shoot cameras.  For example, digital photos on a smart phone can:

  • Be shared with others through various social media like Facebook and Instagram.
  • Be stored in one place (you guessed it, in the cloud!).
  • Be accessed securely from anywhere via a user account.
  • Be texted directly to loved ones.

Smart devices are fundamentally powered by cloud computing.

How can businesses use their data like photos on a smartphone?

Would business data generate greater value if it were easily kept up to date and could be shared? While business systems are more complex than photos, many of the underlying digital capabilities for photos can be applied to meeting the growing information demands of businesses.   Such examples include:

  • Team members access a single, authoritative source of business information.
  • Staff with any technical ability level can share and get answers to every day questions like “what is the status of Smith Tract thinning job?”.
  • Data entry and manual processes are reduced and even eliminated.
  • Information can be shared securely inside or outside an organization.
  • Teams access real time information on smart devices wherever work is done: from home, the truck or the field.
  • Information security and trust standards are in place to reduce risks of hacking and ransomware.

In Conclusion:

Yesterday’s technology and approaches cannot meet today’s or tomorrow’s business information needs.  “Redefining forest technology” is about having choices for technologies where the parts fit into a whole to maximize the reach and utility of information assets.

SFC is a trusted technology partner and leading cloud solutions provider for numerous wood products and forest management organizations across the southeast.

Mike leads SFC’s Geospatial business line and is a military veteran with 20 years experience in forestry technology.

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