NTS RHI Dashboard

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dbhguru
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NTS RHI Dashboard

Post by dbhguru » Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:45 am

Ed,

George’s, Eli’s, and Jess’s recent posts included important Rucker indices that highlight some extraordinary sites. The RHI values they report shine the spotlight on a need we have in NTS. We need to implement, perhaps as a BBS project, a list of sites with their RHIs and we need to keep the list current and visible. Managers in big companies commonly implement something called dashboards that include performance statistics for their company, department, branch, etc. Managers review their dashboard daily. The idea for the dashboard grew from the challenge of trying to keep track of too much data. The mind can track and juggle only so much information. Years ago, I helped develop software systems called EISs (Executive Information Systems). Top level mangers could not be expected to sift through tons of reports, flipping pages and hunting for summary statistics. Visibility and accessibility became the clarion call. Today these executive summaries are commonplace.

I propose that we create an NTS RHI dashboard. It would be organized in our typical hierarchical fashion: State to property to site. An Excel format would work, but that is of secondary importance. The column headings that seem most important to me are:

Header Information for a Site

State
County
Property
Site
GPS coordinates of a point at the site, e.g. an entry gate
RHI

Detail Information for a Site

Tree species
Height
Girth
Number of trunks
Method of height measurement (LC=laser clinometer, CT=clinometer tape)
Measurer of the particular tree
Date of last measurement
RHI5
RHI10

We all can think of other items of information, but this is a dashboard. Less is better. Ideally, we’d first see a summary that included only the header information. The detail would follow. I would not go beyond these two levels.



We have RHI-site information spread throughout the BBS, website, and database, but it is not easy to find conveniently, and we cannot expect you to do our work for us. We need to keep RHI information from and center.

I predict that an RHI dashboard would stimulate interest and serve to motivate our members to go forth and find new sites. It would also keep the RHI front and center to researchers from around the world.

The amount of material that we pump out daily on the BBS these days is impressive and serves lots of worthy purposes. However, bread and butter stuff like RHIs can get lost in the sheer volume and when that happens, importance and focus diminishes. We need to find ways to keep critical information up on everyone’s radarscope. What better way to showcase the exceptional efforts that George Fieo is making in southern PA than to have an RHI dashboard and have all his sites reflected.

The source of the data for the dashboard would be (or should be) the NTS database. It makes sense to make maximum use of the database, but we need highly visible summaries that require the absolute minimum number of steps to access. Simple is better. Coming from me, this may sound like I’ve made some sort of conversion. But this isn’t about accuracy in our numbers. We can never let down our guard there. This is just about visibility, convenience, and marketing. Think daily stock exchange.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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edfrank
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Re: NTS RHI Dashboard

Post by edfrank » Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:45 pm

Bob,

I will add this to the Project List. I am thinking we should create a Rucker Index Project with two categories. The first would be your NTS RHI Dashboard and the second would be posts related to Rucker Index and cross-listed links to reports containing Rucker Index tabulations, not just height, but any variation of the Rucker Index. In your dashboard summary under the detailed listings as the last category there should be a web link to the specific site or region description containing the full write-up so that it would be at the fingertips of the reader if that information was needed or desired.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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dbhguru
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Re: NTS RHI Dashboard

Post by dbhguru » Sun Jan 22, 2012 6:10 pm

Ed,

Thanks. How do you see handling the actual lists?

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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edfrank
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Re: NTS RHI Dashboard

Post by edfrank » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:00 pm

Bob,

I don't have the slightest idea how it could be done collaboratively without some one person taking on the task to compile all of the data as it is submitted. That is why we don't have an up to date big tree list which is being maintained as Jess Riddle has had time to update it. This BBS is about as self sorting as possible but I still need to move posts into proper topics and do the cross listing as needed.

One start would be to put out a blank excel sheet with the categories and headings as you want them. People could then add their data and upload it as a filled spreadsheet in a new reply to a thread on the dashboard topic. periodically someone could cut and paste the lists together into one new listing. Then the updating process could begin again.

Ed
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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dbhguru
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Re: NTS RHI Dashboard

Post by dbhguru » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:33 pm

Ed, et al.,

It is only fitting that I volunteer to be the compiler. I'll come up with a template Excel spreadsheet for everyone to use. I'll submit the template in a few days. The design can be collaborative, but once we settle on it, that must be it. Merging spreadsheets that implement different formats quickly becomes labor intensive and discourages the continuation of the project. As members post spreadsheets in the template format, I'll compile them into one continuous list. I'll also produce handy summaries.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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eliahd24
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Re: NTS RHI Dashboard

Post by eliahd24 » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:40 pm

I fully support... been thinking of the need for this for awhile. I'd be happy to tease out my data into RHI spreadsheets specific to individual locations in decided upon format whenever you're ready. Gives me some impetus to update indices at a couple of sites this winter anyways :)

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sjhalow
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Re: NTS RHI Dashboard

Post by sjhalow » Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:59 pm

Ed/Bob,

I like the idea of leveraging work already done rather than re-entering data in another spreadsheet. The NTS database that Steve and Mitch Galehouse created would be a great data source for a web-based dashboard. I think a good layout of the dashboard would be State/Province sorted by RHI10 in descending order. Underneath each state/province, in a tree structure (like windows file explorer) individual sites could be displayed, once again in descending order based on RHI10.
Clicking on a State/Province would display individual sites. Each site name could be a hyperlink to the site in the tree database. In my opinion, all the detailed information is displayed pretty clearly there.

Of course all this would take some web development and database query (SQL) knowledge. I might be able to help out with this. Also if anyone has any data that they would like entered in the database, let me know, i'd be happy to help out.

Example dashboard layout - Not complete or accurately ordered, although I assume western states would top the list, followed southern and then north eastern states

California RHI5 RHI10 RGI5 RGI10
Oregon RHI5 RHI10 RGI5 RGI10
Washington RHI5 RHI10 RGI5 RGI10
...
North Carolina RHI5 RHI10 RGI5 RGI10
South Carolina RHI5 RHI10 RGI5 RGI10
Georgia RHI5 RHI10 RGI5 RGI10
...
Ohio RHI5 RHI10 RGI5 RGI10
......Sand Run RHI5 RHI10 RGI5 RGI10 http://alpha.treesdb.org/Browse/Sites/440/Details
Pennsylvania RHI5 RHI10 RGI5 RGI10
......Cook forest RHI5 RHI10 RGI5 RGI10
......Ohiopyle State Park RHI5 RHI10 RGI5 RGI10 http://alpha.treesdb.org/Browse/Sites/1016/Details
......Tyler State Park RHI5 RHI10 RGI5 RGI10
......Friendship Hill RHI5 RHI10 RGI5 RGI10 http://alpha.treesdb.org/Browse/Sites/1015/Details

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tsharp
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Re: NTS RHI Dashboard

Post by tsharp » Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:52 pm

NTS I agree with Steve H. The system that Mitch Galehouse is developing can do that quite easily once the data is entered. It is probably just a matter of tweaking how it is displayed in a dashboard format. Maybe Steve G. or Mitch G. will weigh in with their thoughts. But the data has to be entered which for some reason not many NTS people have done. Only four states have their complete data sets per triip reports entered. They are Idaho, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia. Like Steve H. I will help with data entry as time allows. It is not to hard once you jump in.
Turner Sharp

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edfrank
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Re: NTS RHI Dashboard

Post by edfrank » Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:19 pm

Turner,

Much of our tree data is in the form of large spreadsheets held by people like Dale Luthringer, Bob Leverett, Jess Riddle, and Will Blozan. Dale literally has thousands of tree measurements. Mitch indicated he was going to develop a feature that would allow the importation of data from excel sheets into his database. It would be a waste of time to retype all of that data, upwards of 15,000+ trees into the database if the import feature is to be implemented. I told Mitch that I would be happy to work on trying to reformat these excel spreadsheets to a format more amenable to importation if he wants to work on that feature. I hope he will be able to develop this capability or if he has trouble that we can find someone to work on the problem. He has done an amazing job so far. It is a voluntary effort, so if it takes more time to be implemented, I am happy to give him what times he needs. The problem with the development so far that he has solved for us is that we are looking at ways to not only look at individual big trees, but to also be able to characterize entire sites or regions using various types of measurement statistics.

Ed Frank
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

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dbhguru
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Re: NTS RHI Dashboard

Post by dbhguru » Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:56 am

NTS,

What Ed points out is certainly the case. Actually, I had nearly 5,000 trees in an original Access database before my computer died and I converted to MAC - a change with mixed results. I gained some functionality in places and lost in others.

I also have Excel spreadsheets galore holding several thousand trees. Re-entering all those trees into the NTS database is far too time consuming to even contemplate. If Mitch can create an Excel interface where we can import, then a whole new day will have dawned. The flood gates will have been opened. But alas, in absence of a spreadsheet interface, it will be a long time before we can realize the benefits of Mitch's hard labor.

Regardless of how we do this, one point I want to emphasize with spreadsheet entry. Discipline is essential. It is a big, big mistake to combined numeric and text information in the same cell. Sometimes an entry needs explanation, and some folks combine the number and the explanation in the same cell. Don't do it! Use a column devoted to text, leaving the numeric entry in a column formatted for numbers.

Under the assumption that Mitch will eventually be able to create the dashboard as a database effort, but won't be able to do it quickly, I'll still continue in the direction of creating a spreadsheet solution with VBA macros unless the rest of you talk me out of it.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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