Bavarian State Forest Administration and ArcGIS for Mobile with Christian Simbeck

Christian Simbeck of the Bavarian State Forest Administration shares how its users use a focused application for disconnected use in the field.

Jun 28th, 2014

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00:01The Bavarian State Forest Administration is empowering users to do their work...

00:06...more efficiently using ArcGIS with a simple-to-use, focused application built for disconnected use... the field, or in this case, the forest.

00:16All the way from Germany, please welcome Christian Simbeck.

00:25Thank you. Guten morgen, meine damen und herren. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

00:30In Germany, the Bavarian State Forest Administration is responsible for roughly 9,300 square miles...

00:36...of mostly private-owned forest in Bavaria, which is about almost one-third of Bavaria's total state area.

00:43Our administration consists of a ministry in Munich and 49 offices with 340 forest districts around our state.

00:51We've got a broad variety of tasks and duties; for example, law enforcement, the counseling of 700,000...

00:57...private forest owners, the promotion of forestry, scientific research, and some more.

01:02But we've also got an interesting, unique staff of 1,200 foresters and employees, many of whom represent...

01:09...the unique demographic as you might see on the picture.

01:12And as you might feel, our foresters are not the type of people that love to work with fancy computers at their desktops.

01:18So our mission as a project team was to provide these foresters with the right tools... help them achieve their mission, optimize their workflow, be more productive, and also not be intimidating.

01:29Of course, nobody told us how.

01:32So let me share some of the secret lessons we learned to achieve this goal.

01:35First of all, do precise requirements engineering.

01:39It is definitely worth the time.

01:41Get the answers to at least the three following questions...

01:44...Who are your users or stakeholders, and what are their characteristics?

01:48Where do they work?

01:50Maybe disconnected in some Bavarian forest, connected online in some office, or both.

01:56And, what are their workflows?

01:58Don't just focus on maps or the required information products, but look what they are doing step by step.

02:04So we came up with a design of the Bavarian Forest Information System, an enterprise GIS...

02:09...that is usable in the forest in a disconnected mode as well as in the office in the online mode...

02:15...sporting bidirectional synchronization capabilities and with only one user interface.

02:20It consists of a growing number of special task applications we developed for our task...

02:25...with our solution partner, the company [unintelligible] of Germany. does it work?

02:32Let me give you a quick tour.

02:38At first glimpse, you see a quite simple user interface.

02:41You see big buttons you can touch with your finger, even a forester finger, and it has a built-in GPS... position reference is no problem, and it's almost like a toy.

02:50So it's really nothing to frighten a 65-year-old Bavarian forester one year before retirement.

02:58We call this application Wald Abgrenzung...funny German word.

03:02I will translate it to forest delineation...let's go into some detail.

03:07Maybe our forester was counseling a private forest owner in here, and, yeah, he used his GPS to position himself...

03:14...and then he walks back to his car which is parked on this nice Bavarian farm.

03:18You see solar panels on the roof, so it's a nice farm.

03:21And he sees a newer forestation area in here, and it's obviously not depicted on this aerial image...

03:29...and it's also not depicted on the official map of the Bavarian Land Survey Administration.

03:33There should be some green in here, but there's only red for building areas with buildings.

03:38So our forester knows exactly what to do.

03:40He has to create the new forest area directly on the map as part of a redlining process.

03:45He pushes one button, a wizard opens up.

03:47He says, okay, I want to create a new forest area as part of a parcel.

03:51Then he goes on.

03:53He has to indicate which parcel.

03:54Should be that one.

03:56Then he's able to draw the new forest area right into the map, roughly around the edges, maybe like that.

04:04He does an intersection, gets the message successfully executed, goes along...

04:09...and he gets a warning because he has touched land use, a former land use of buildings...

04:14...the red one, but he says, It's okay...I want to proceed that way.

04:17And then he has to fill in the reason for this new forest area.

04:23It should be a newer forestation in this case.

04:25He can fill in some remarks as voluntary input, and one click, and he's done with his work.

04:31A rather...I'd say, complex GIS task done very easily for our forester.

04:36He has nothing to know about snapping on boundaries, topological consistencies...

04:41...and all the GIS complexity in the background.

04:43He just did it.

04:45And the last remaining question is, Do we really achieve our mission and are more productive?

04:49So let's take a look at some performance metrics out of another task application we call Forstliches Gutachten...

04:55...which could be translated to Wildlife Damage Survey.

04:59Every three years, about five million surveys on forests--young forest trees--are carried out... Bavaria's forest to adjust our hunting activities.

05:07It is done by 700 foresters in just three months.

05:10You see the green line on this chart.

05:11This is the accumulated data flow of the 2009 survey, which is carried out...

05:15...using handheld computers without GIS.

05:19You see the yellow line on the chart.

05:21This is the accumulated data flow of 2012 where we used the Bavarian Forest Information System...

05:26...with the benefits of a mobile GIS, resulting in almost two times more efficiency.

05:32So our administration is happy with the system...

05:34...and most of our 1,200 users, 1,200 users in Bavaria, we use it every day.

05:39Love to work with it.

05:41And there's not much more a project manager could ask.

05:44So the next time you design an application, never forget, who is your audience?

05:50Where do they have to work?

05:51Maybe in an isolated Bavarian forest, and what can you do to improve their efficiency?

05:56Thank you very much.

05:58Auf wiedersehen.

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