GIS Forestry Tool Lowers Cost of Forest Management - Forestry Development Centre Tapio of Finland is using ESRI's ArcGIS software and a solution designed by Tieto, an ESRI business partner, to meet Forestry Centres' goal to decrease forest inventory costs by 40 percent. The solution is designed to improve productivity, cost efficiency, and cooperation between organizations, including data procurement and two-way dataflow. It will also increase Forestry Centres' customer use of Forestry Centre services and advice.

Working with Finland's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Tapio supports forest management planning for the country's 13 regional Forestry Centres by providing them with information systems. To make operative planning more effective, Tapio deployed Tieto's solution, which is built on ArcGIS 9.3, ESRI's geographic information system (GIS) software. ArcGIS has been used to support forest management solutions for decades. The system enables Forestry Centres to maintain an up-to-date, high-quality forest resource database for the entire country.

"GIS makes geographic information easier to use and increases the value of the data produced by Forestry Centres and other organizations," says Kirsi Valanne, geographic information specialist at Tapio. "Eventually, we will expand the system to support other operations performed by Forestry Centres."

Finland is a significant contributor to the world's commercial production of sawn goods and pulp production. With 66 percent of Finland's land use dedicated to productive forests, Forestry Centres have a lot of data to manage. Tapio project manager Henry Schneider notes, "With this new system, Forestry Centres can increase the amount of annually collected forest resource data and, at the same time, reduce the costs of data collection per hectare." The new GIS is designed to support a new concept for field data procurement based on laser scanning and aerial photographs. This dramatically reduces the need for fieldwork.

Each Forestry Centre provides information that plays a key role in promoting regional development projects, building cooperation between forest organizations, and counseling forest owners. Tapio's GIS will enhance this ability via a centralized database that contains forest resource data and forest management planning data. This includes proposed cuttings and silvicultural work; key biotopes required by the Forest Act; cadastral data; aerial photographs; laser scanning data; and external geographic data such as topographic maps, groundwater areas, protected areas, and prehistoric monuments.

In the initial phase to be completed by 2010, Tapio anticipates that 400 users will interact with the data. Eventually it hopes to expand the user group to 850 people who will access GIS for forestry law supervision, forest extension service (through public funding), forest management planning, and forest improvement projects.

The client application is built on ArcGIS Desktop 9.3 tools. An Oracle database is connected by ArcGIS Server using SQL*Net (or Net8) protocol. GIS interfaces with Tapio's PDA field data collection program, forest data calculation application, customer relationship management (CRM) system, financial management applications, and data transfer service. Users will be able to connect to map servers via the Internet.

Tieto has full responsibility for the delivery of the project. Its strong experience in implementing large geographic information solutions and its in-depth knowledge about the wood-processing value chain will aid the development and implementation of this project. ESRI's distributor ESRI Finland Oy is providing the GIS software for the project via an enterprise license software purchasing agreement as well as maintenance, support services, and training.

Tapio offers a wide range of services and products to companies and organizations for the sustainable management and use of forests. A century of experience and thousands of projects place Tapio in the forefront of forestry development worldwide. Tapio's main task is to serve the Forestry Centres in Finland with systems for managing private forestry (read more about Forestry Centres at the link below).

Tieto is an IT service company providing IT, R&D, and consulting services. With approximately 16,000 experts, we are among the leading IT service companies in Northern Europe and the global leader in selected segments. We specialize in areas where we have the deepest understanding of our customers' businesses and needs. Our superior customer centricity and Nordic expertise set us apart from our competitors.

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