Forestry GIS User Group Opens for Membership Redlands, California – ESRI has launched a new user group specifically for its forestry and timberland management customers. The newly formed ESRI Forestry Group (EFG) will build opportunities for foresters to learn about business solutions, network with like-minded professionals, and develop professional growth.
“EFG will provide a valuable venue for the forestry GIS user community to engage in dialog for advancement,” says ESRI’s forestry solutions manager Peter Eredics. “Forestry professionals have unique concerns and experiences. The initiation of EFG will add a depth to geographic information system (GIS) applications that will open up greater business opportunities for these users.”
The EFG 2009 startup plan includes a user group Web page at www.esri.com/efg; support for the 2009 ESRI International User Conference forestry track; a quarterly forestry solutions webinar; and an accessible information center for current GIS information, white papers, case studies, and more. EFG members can join the group at no cost and subscribe to the free newsletter Forestry GIS Journal.
“The ESRI GIS community has a long history of openness and willingness to help each other,” says EFG president Mark Books. “I’m looking forward to working with EFG. The user group will deepen the strong sense of ESRI community support and strengthen the commitment to meeting forestry-related GIS challenges.”
Books is a remote sensing/GIS forester for Colorado State University’s Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands and is contracted to the U.S. Department of the Army at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. For more than 15 years, Books has used ESRI’s GIS software. He has developed a decision support system incorporating growth and yield models, wildfire behavior, and 3D visualization.
“GIS has been liberating,” notes Elizabeth Martinez, EFG vice president. “The explosion of data availability, interoperability, analysis options, and GIS products in recent years has made GIS for forestry much more interesting and challenging. I am happy to be working with EFG in our efforts to meet the specific GIS requirements of the forest industry.”
Martinez is the director of GIS and IT for the Forestland Group (TFG), a timberland investment management organization (TIMO) specializing in naturally regenerating hardwood. She uses GIS daily for a wide variety of purposes including pulling data together for acquisitions, validating legal descriptions, ordering aerial photography, assessing imagery options for change detection, integrating GIS updates with a third-party timber audit database, solving problems for field operations and property consultants, and developing new methods for data collection and analysis.