Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Volume Reports Graduate from Beta!

We're proud to announce that volume reports have graduated from "beta"!  We've rolled out a number of improvements to provide you with the maximum amount of information while keeping bloat to a minimum.

Over the past 6 months, we've received lots of feedback from you all on our "beta" volume reporting service.  In that time, we've received lots of inquiries about the volume calculations.  Common ones include:

  • What exactly is in a SilviaTerra volume report?
  • How are total and merchantable heights estimated?
  • How are volume equations selected in each region?
  • How are trees merchandised into products?

Over the coming weeks, we'll show you what's going on under the hood and dive into the details of each of these questions.  As always, please post any questions or comments below and we'll get right back to you.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Plot Reduce - Fewer Plots, Same Accuracy

We're rolling out a new service to cut your fieldwork in half.  Welcome to Plot Reduce.

At SilviaTerra, our mission is to help build the future of forestry by providing foresters with the best tools possible.  In the past three years, we've worked with some of the top REITs/TIMOs and hundreds of foresters to create:
  • Timber Scout: remotely-sensed forest inventory (5,000 acres and up)
  • Plot Hound: simple, modern Android and iOS cruising app
Today, we're excited to announce a new service that combines the best of both of these tools.  For your next cruise, use Plot Reduce to cut your fieldwork in half.

How It Works

In a normal grid cruise, you're attempting to measure all the variability within the forest by taking a lot of samples.  Plot Reduce uses satellite imagery to pick out the variability in the forest ahead of time, so you only measure the plots that you need to.  Plot Reduce also clumps the plots together to minimize your travel time.

Getting started with Plot Reduce is easy:
  1. You upload stand boundaries to the SilviaTerra website
  2. We handle all the remote-sensing work and send you the plot locations to measure
  3. You cruise (we recommend Plot Hound, but any system will work)
  4. You upload the cruise to the SilviaTerra website (easy with Plot Hound - or you can upload an Excel file)
  5. We pair the plot data with the satellite imagery to generate a stand table for each stand
  6. You log in to the website to view beautiful reports and download the stand tables

Cruising Comparison

# of Plots Min Acreage
Plot Hound
Same as conventional cruising
Plot Reduce      
Half as many as conventional cruising               
200 acres
Timber Scout
SilviaTerra collects all plot data
5,000 acres

Who Should Use Plot Reduce?

We built Plot Reduce with consulting foresters in mind.  Using Plot Reduce, you can double or triple your number of clients while keeping your amount of field work the same.  If you're interested in growing your business with Plot Reduce, request an invite today!

For government foresters with the Forest Service or the Department of Natural Resources, Plot Reduce can help stretch a tight budget by cutting cruising costs by up to 50%.   If you think we could help, please get in touch with us here.

The Future

All of our services are constantly improving.  We recently rolled out volume reports and just did a total website upgrade.   Keep an eye out for even more this summer!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Website Upgrade

If you've visited our website in the past few days, you've probably noticed some serious changes.  Hold on to your iPad, because we're not in Kansas anymore.

Over the past 6 months, we've experienced massive growth in the number of users on Plot Hound.  We're now at over 1,500 registered users and tens of thousands of plots.

Although the app had been constantly improving, our website had remained much the same.  It was time to launch a bold new look and feel that communicated our core mission: building simple, beautiful, and powerful tools to help foresters engage with the land.

Here's what we came up with:

We didn't stop there.  If you log in to your account, you'll notice that the interface for cruise management has been re-imagined as well.

Great maps are an essential tool for great forestry.  So we made maps first-class citizens in our new redesign.  We've shrunken headers and sidebars and expanded our maps to take up almost the entire screen - giving you a big, beautiful workspace.

Pro tip: hit the F11 button on your keyboard to go FULL full-screen

The new cruise creation page is all map, all the time

All these upgrades are part of our mission to provide foresters with the best tools available.  Keep your eye out for more improvements - we're not stopping any time soon.

Love Plot Hound?  Check out our new service that will turbo-charge your cruising: 
Plot Reduce

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Volume Reports - BETA

Ever since we released Plot Hound, the top feature request has been volume calculations.  We've been hard at work and are proud to announce a limited beta rollout of volume reports!  We calculate volumes with stem profile equations from the Clark '91 paper.  We'll include details in a future blog post, but if you have questions in the meantime, please contact us.

Redesigned "Stand Details" page

The first thing you'll notice when you log in is that we've totally upgraded the old stand details page.  We've increased the screen real-estate of the map and moved the more detailed reports to their own tabs on the left.

Order Volume Report

Besides the standard "Basic" and "Cruise" report tabs, you'll notice a new "Volume" report tab.  After you upload your cruise, click the "Add to Cart" button to order a volume report.

Specify Product Rules

You'll be taken to a page where you can specify the product rules (what species/diameters are classified as Pulp, CNS, Saw, etc.).  We've provided 2 default product rulesets from the FIA product definitions (one for the East and one for the West).  If you need something more advanced, you can upload a spreadsheet with your own rules.  As shown above, we've put together an interactive demo that shows how to create your own rules, but if that seems too complicated, please contact us and we'll help you create your rules.  

$1 Early Bird Special

We're eager to hear your feedback about the volume reports.  Although we eventually plan on charging $30 per report, in this early phase you can get volume reports for $1 each.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Plot Hound 2.50 - Save cruise progress and more

Version 2.50 of Plot Hound is now available for Android.  The iOS version should be released shortly.

This is a major release for Plot Hound, introducing a number of highly requested features.  You asked, we listened:

Save your cruise progress

Many Plot Hound users have been requesting a way to save their cruise progress without uploading the whole cruise.  After several days of hard cruising, it's no fun to drop your phone in a creek and lose all of your data.  We heard your concerns and developed a simple way for you to backup your data as you progress through your cruise.

After you've completed a few plots, simply press the "Save" button on the cruise dashboard page (you'll need a data connection for this step!).  You will be asked whether you want to "Drop" or "Keep" the incomplete plots in the cruise.  If you choose "Drop", the incomplete plots will be deleted from your phone and the cruise will be considered finished.  If you choose "Keep", the incomplete plots will remain on your phone.

Your completed plots are saved to the SilviaTerra website, so even if your phone gets fried, your data is safe.

Change Plot Sampling Method on the Fly

Sometimes your cruise protocol allows you to switch to smaller plots if you're in a really dense area.  Now you can!  Just select your desired sampling method from the list at the bottom of the plot dashboard page. 

Age and Crown Ratio Fields

We're always trying to walk a fine line between accommodating feature requests and keeping Plot Hound simple and intuitive.  Over the past few months, we received many requests for "age" and "crown ratio" fields, so we've added those to the "Add Tree" page.

Improved User Interface

As you can probably tell from the screenshots above, we've put a lot of work into the design of Plot Hound 2.50.  Many cruisers told us that the small menu buttons in earlier versions of Plot Hound were hard to press accurately, so we added dashboard pages for cruises and plots (see above) with big, easily pushable buttons.  We also upgraded our mapping pages to be more finger-friendly:

Coming Soon...

This is just the beginning!  Be on the lookout for new upgrades to be rolled out continuously over the next few months.