Update on some relevant topics

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#1)  Update on some relevant topics

Postby dbhguru » Tue Jul 04, 2017 1:21 pm

Ents,

It is time for an update on several topics of common interest. They are presented below.

Superlative Native Tree Database (SNTDB): As most of you know (I think), we established a database at Virginia Tech to hold our important tree measurements. The SNTDB currently has 2753 records in it. This is progress, however, it is only a dent in the project. We have over 34,000 posts in the BBS and they are literally laced with tree measurements. To be of historical, scientific, and even sporting, value, NTS measurements must be efficiently accessible. They aren’t. The SNTDB was developed at VA Tech as the solution to gaining efficient access. But building the database is no small undertaking. We’ll be at it for a long time. I’m now working on importing 1,004 tree measurements from Iowa, courtesy of the indefatigable Mark Rouw.

BTW, while on the subject, you have to be signed up by John Peterson at VA Tech to enter data into the DB. To do that, you need to go through either Don Bertolette or yours truly. Just send us your email address if you want to enter your data in the DB. The attachment is the latest version of the instructions. Don and John Peterson will be reviewing it, so there may be another version in the near future. However, you must be proficient in NTS measuring methods. No exceptions.

Our data will eventually find its way into VA tech’s VTree app to communicate species maximums to users of the app. We are nowhere near having enough data to do that yet.

As a final comment, on this topic, let me state clearly that neither Don nor I have any vested interest in the data. It is NTS data used for the purpose described above. I say this because I’ve been pushing to get data into the database, which apparently confused one of our members. He wondered what my interest was.

Once the data are in the DB, everyone has the same access to it in the same way they have access to data in the BBS now. If you don’t want tree maximums that you may have established added to the database, that is entirely your prerogative.  That said, it would surely be nice to show the world what we have accomplished as a group in a form that is accessible.

American Forests Update: We’re extremely pleased to announce that AF has brought aboard a new national champion tree coordinator. Her name is Eliza Kretzmann and four of us met her in Virginia on June 16th at the tree-measuring workshop. I was greatly impressed. Her coming on board is very good news for the National Cadre.

Basically, the national champion tree program had all but shut down and that had left the Cadre out in left field. There was lots of thumb-twiddling going on, and loss of interest. However, frustration from the sidelines isn’t even in the ballpark compared to what Don and I have felt. Both of us have ground our teeth down to gum level, It has taken biblical patience to soldier on, but alas, the clouds have parted and the rays of sun give us hope that the dark days have past.

Oh yes, we now have 40 members in the Cadre including Sheri Shannon as an honorary member. Finally, we will resume our monthly telephone conference calls with AF. First one is this Thursday.

Dendromorphometry Update: NTS is one of the primary sources for developing advanced tree-measuring techniques for sport measuring. We have the topic on the BBS, but since 2013, most of our effort has been redirected toward American Forests tree-measuring guidelines. This winter, we’ll be working on an update to the measuring guidelines that will include the latest “gobsmacker” techniques.

Bob
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Instructions for using Superlative Native Tree Database.doc
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#2)  Re: Update on some relevant topics

Postby Bob4st » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:08 pm

..."gobsmacker techniques"...??  Ok, now you have my attention...I look forward to reading what that latest method consists of...
Best wishes,
Bob4st
The tree the tempest with a crash of wood Throws down in front of us is not to bar Our passage to our journey's end for good, But just to ask us who we think we are. (R. Frost)
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#3)  Re: Update on some relevant topics

Postby Don » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:27 pm

Bob4st-
Hmmm, "gobsmacker technique"....?  I may have as much to do with that as anyone, but don't recall the sentence it came from.  If it was an utterance of mine, it was probably in the context of a discussion of non-standard tree forms. Such a category would include baobabs, tropical figs, a wide array of species prone to buttressed bases, and often a wide array of species when grown to their maximum, take on "gobsmacking shapes and sizes".
This brings up the issue of 'how do you measure a tree that is beyond human scale...trees with girths that are if not impossible, at least improbably measured by D-tape. Or those typically found in rainforests (Florida, Texas, Hawaii have many species with buttresses that if girth were measured at breast height, would enclose more air than wood...we're not in the business of measuring air...
That said, what suggestions for measuring such gobsmackers would you put forth?
-Don Bertolette
Member of AF Measuring Guidelines Working Group
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#4)  Re: Update on some relevant topics

Postby Bob4st » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:20 am

That's a tough question... I guess my initial thought of dunking them in water and measuring the displacement is pretty laughable, eh?  Now you'll have me pondering that one throughout the day.  In the meantime, I'm curious if it's not practical or if the tree is not accessible to physically collect measurements, is it possible to take scalar photographs of a multi-trunk or buttressed tree at breast height and at multiple angles such that the circumference of each trunk can be sequentially quantified?  Multiple angles should allow one to compensate for trunks that are not round, be illustrated graphically, etc.  I can imagine such hands-off process being relatively efficient and successful on smooth bark, but not with a highly irregular surface.  Lastly, being "old school" (a.k.a., technologically illiterate), I would not be surprised if something similar to this already exists.  Any thoughts?..
Bob
The tree the tempest with a crash of wood Throws down in front of us is not to bar Our passage to our journey's end for good, But just to ask us who we think we are. (R. Frost)
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#5)  Re: Update on some relevant topics

Postby Don » Sat Jul 08, 2017 10:23 pm

Bob4st-
The displacement theory...a rather empirical approach, also occurred to me, long enough to muse how much water it would take, how much of a container it would take, role of evaporation, and other such considerations.  But ultimately, at a certain scale the impracticality easily outweighed the data yielded.  But for tropical fig species, I have not thought of any better method...

In our assigned roles in American Forests' (AF) Measuring Guidelines Working Group (MGWG), we considered such things...your musings are not far off the mark.  For one, there is a technique variously known as "Cloud Mapping", where digital images are taken around the tree (much as you suggested), and entered into a software that creates a surface map of the images taken...very complex math and computer programs yields the surface map as well as mathematic relationships such as circumference, volume, and such...in a high degree of accuracy.

Another technique, even more complex, perhaps is known as Structure from Motion, where aerial (plane, drone, and at larger scale, satellite) video data informs SfM software and provides a more forest-level manner of measurement.

While not known as I was at the University in the 70's and 80's, tree heights became ascertainable from remote sensing techniques known as LIDaR, where radar signals are sent out in known frequencies and such, and then their reflection received...the manner and amount of those signals received can be used surprisingly effectively in measuring tree heights, with sufficient funding, at the forest level. We have members in NTS who actively seek such LIDaR coverage, using it to filter their forests in their search for big trees.

Most recently, a member of the AF's national big tree Certification Cadre mentioned research he'd been a part of that used hand-held digital cameras, to estimate crown dimensions.

We do have research citations that provide solutions for estimating equivalent girth of highly buttressed species, but they are at best estimations.

So yes, your question was apt, and your thinking not that far off the mark! Tell us about yourself !!

-Don
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#6)  Re: Update on some relevant topics

Postby Bob4st » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:14 pm

Hello Don:
Thank you for your thoughts and I apologize for taking so long to reply to your post... Regarding "tell us more about yourself"  I spent twenty+ years as a geologist/hydrogeologist working primarily on soil/bedrock/groundwater contaminant investigation and remediation projects, taught environmental/geology part-time at a few colleges for several years, and retrained in the 1990's for my current career as a psychotherapist/clinical social worker... Throughout all those careers I maintained a small side job/hobby which focused predominantly on cutting, pruning and planting trees, and masonry restorations... As I fast approach retirement, I plan to stick to lighter fare such as pruning and planting trees, fly fishing and hunting beautiful trees to measure/climb... can't sit still... Lastly, I was introduced to NTS through fellow members Patty and Peter Jenkins, owner/operators of Tree Climbers International while attending one of their week-long Tree Climber Training courses in Atlanta, GA...
Take care,
Bob F.
The tree the tempest with a crash of wood Throws down in front of us is not to bar Our passage to our journey's end for good, But just to ask us who we think we are. (R. Frost)
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#7)  Re: Update on some relevant topics

Postby dbhguru » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:35 pm

Ents,

 As a continued update on relevant topics, the latest compilation of measurement methods that make use of a reticle-based monocular (don't know what else to call it) is attached. It is pretty heavy duty, but each method, other than the simplest, has a calculator. The power of these methods is that you can measure the width of an object at a distance. The methods presented in the Excel attachment explain where each applies. There is one scenario left to develop. I won't go into it here.

Bob
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Simple&Advanced Reticle Formulas - 7-10-2017.xlsx
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#8)  Re: Update on some relevant topics

Postby dbhguru » Tue Jul 18, 2017 7:33 pm

Ents,

  The last post on this thread contained a spreadsheet detailing measurement methods employing a reticle-based monocular. I mentioned that there was one method left to complete. It has been finished. That method is explained in the attachment. It is the most general and flexible of the methods, but each has its area of strongest application.

   Tests of this method give excellent results as long as distances to the ends of the width line are accurate. In all my tests to date, the distances have been measured by red beam lasers accurate to +/- 1.5 millimeters on clear targets.

    I guess I will now that the latest entry is a method in search of applications.
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DiagonalMethodReticle-2.xlsx
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#9)  Re: Update on some relevant topics

Postby dbhguru » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:24 pm

Ents,

    John Peterson at VA Tech has upgraded the user interface of the Superlative Native Tree database. It is really slick. Presently contributors to the DB include:

1.        Brian Beduhn
2.        Bob Leverett
3.        Dale Luthringer
4.        Elijah Whitcomb
5.        Erik Danielsen
6.        Jared Lockwood
7.        John Eichholz
8.        Matt Markworth
9.        Jess Riddle
10.        Larry Tucei
11.        Turner Sharp
12.        Tyler Phillips

   Totally records stand at 2830. This may sound like a lot, but really isn't. I hope others will pitch in and add data to this important database. The door stays open.

   The above said, I make the observation that the NTS-VA Tech connection is critical if we’re to go beyond just chatting among ourselves with no effective plan to get our highly valuable data accepted within the professional and academic communities. The VA Tech database is our best avenue to gain higher standing in those communities. Our BBS posts and personal websites won’t get the job down. It is simple as that.

   Anyone having trouble entering data, please feel free to ask for help. You have to be formally signed up to enter data into the database. Thereafter, adding records one at a time is a simple process. Adding them in batch mode is efficient, but requires adherence to a strict format. I've given the format before, but I stand ready to help anyone needing it in the future. To that end, I recently was given a complete download of the family-genus-species database out of VA Tech's VTree app. Got the whole thing. My next step is to create versions of it to automatically fill in family name to insure standardization on batch imports. I'll report on future progress.

Bob
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#10)  Re: Update on some relevant topics

Postby Larry Tucei » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:12 pm

Hi  Bob-  Thanks for the update. I'll be adding to the listings this winter. I plan on breaking some records in Ms.   Larry
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