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Daniel Unger, Stephen F. Austin State University Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, unger@sfasu.edu (Presenter)
I-Kuai Hung, Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, hungi@sfasu.edu
Yanli Zhang, Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture, zhangy2@sfasu.edu

 

Field foresters have long required a method of accurate measurement of area, and to a lesser extent perimeter or feature length, during forest management activities. In the past, numerous methods have been used. Each of these methods has its own level of inaccuracy and inefficiency. This research evaluated whether the dynamic collection of points using consumer-grade GPS units provides a sufficient level of accuracy for the calculation of area and perimeter under three types of canopy cover: a newly established pine plantation, a pine plantation nearing first thinning, and a mature pine/hardwood stand. Dynamic collection of points for the determination of area is much more accurate than traditional methods in open conditions and is more accurate or, at the worst, comparable to traditional methods even under heavy canopy. Compared to the surveyed baseline, the average area RMSE (root mean square error) observed ranged from 0.184936 Acres (0.57% of total acreage) in the 3-year old plantation to 0.84 (2.96% of total acreage) in the 40-year-old mixed pine/hardwood stand. The average perimeter RMSE ranged from 41.86866 feet (0.67% of total perimeter) in the 40-year-old mixed pine/hardwood stand to 60.60755 feet (1.36% of total perimeter). For many forestry applications, these levels of accuracy should be more than sufficient.