Which i-Tree tool is best for a basic tree inventory - mapping, managing & work planning

Section for general i-Tree questions on installation, system requirements, registration, international use, etc.

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Which i-Tree tool is best for a basic tree inventory - mapping, managing & work planning

Post by azelaya » Tue May 14, 2019 1:32 pm

These functions are found in a more traditional tree inventory or asset management systems that allow for tracking trees over time, maintenance work history, plant health care history, generating work orders, etc. That is not what i-Tree was designed to do.

The i-Tree Tools are primarily urban forest assessment tools - designed to provide ecosystem service information of a tree and/or forest resource based on tree and forest measurements. i-Tree is free and funded by public funds. As such, they are purposefully not intended to compete with proprietary asset management tools. Therefore, they do not have all the same features of traditional inventory tools designed for daily or frequent management of tree resources.

There will be some limitations if using i-Tree tools in a traditional tree asset management capacity. Nonetheless, the limitations may be acceptable depending on your objectives and available resources. Given these limitations, below are i-Tree tools to consider.

i-Tree Eco is designed for assessing trees in all areas including parks, campuses, cemeteries, street trees etc. Eco v6 now has flexible data requirements which make it more usable for simple projects. Previous versions of Eco required multiple tree measurements such as tree height, canopy width and much more. Now, Tree species and diameter (DBH) are minimum requirements in Eco v6, but we highly recommend condition (dieback in Eco) also.
There are other optional canopy and land use measurements available to toggle which will make ecosystem service estimates more accurate if collected. There are some management needs options that can be collected but it doesn’t track the history of work performed on trees. Eco does have GPS capabilities and locational data information can be captured but mapping would have to be completed externally using exported data. Lastly, there is not a way to account for available planting spaces in Eco.

The i-Tree Streets is a legacy program which means we are no longer updating it, but it is available in the current i-Tree v6.1.27 installation. Streets is designed for street tree assessments and has some additional fields to collect optional data. The Streets program is intended for determining ecosystem services of right-of-way trees. Therefore, ecosystem service estimates in a campus or park-like setting may not be as applicable. Streets has more functions that are similar to traditional inventory tools such as allowing you to collect available planting spaces. Because Streets is not being updated, we don’t generally recommend it because it will become obsolete at some point in the future due to Microsoft operating system updates, and Streets users will need to migrate to Eco. Streets webpage https://www.itreetools.org/streets/index.php

In summary, the i-Tree programs may have limitations for more daily or frequent tree management depending on one's objectives. Please see the following link to a University of Florida paper comparing more traditional inventory and management systems. The article is from 2009 and may not have information on newer systems.http://ufdc.ufl.edu/IR00003521/00001
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