Improving Forest Management Using the ArcGIS Server Image Extension

By Matthew DeMeritt, ESRI

Bayerische Staatsforsten (BaySF), the largest timber supplier in Germany, with a staff of more than 3,000, vastly improved its image management practices using ESRI’s ArcGIS Server Image extension. The company recently completed 16 months of ArcGIS Server operational use with zero downtime. Even while BaySF created, edited, and published new services, its 1,400 Web users and 20 concurrent local area network clients experienced no service interruptions. To this system, the company added the ArcGIS Server Image extension. This made it possible to deliver raw and preprocessed imagery to clients via a Web service available on BaySF’s intranet.

Over the years, BaySF has collected terabytes of aerial imagery, satellite imagery, topographic maps, scanned maps, elevation models, and lidar data to document its landholdings and forest inventory. From these datasets, a number of image services were created and optimized for different forest and land management applications. The ArcGIS Server Image extension directly reads a wide range of formats and serves mosaicked imagery on the fly. This eliminates the need for duplicate data and saves BaySF the expense of costly storage upgrades.

For its mobile staff, BaySF created a customized application that facilitates disconnected viewing. This allows foresters and technicians to take compressed extracts of the imagery and store it on mobile devices for use in the field without having to connect to a network.

The ArcGIS Server Image extension also easily handles multitemporal data. This significantly widens BaySF’s perspective and greatly improves the company’s ability to make timely decisions based on more accurate and up-to-date information. Over the corporate intranet, foresters and field technicians access imagery and raster data relevant to surveying and planning. This archived data gives land managers a topographic perspective of historic forests and stand structures for managing entire ecosystems. The integrated features of ArcGIS Server also allow the fast creation of customized access and resource maps by nontechnical personnel.

This software leverages the power of today’s multicore CPUs, allowing multiple images to be
derived on the fly from a single set of raw images. This has considerably streamlined workflows at BaySF by virtualizing the imagery into a few services, enabling direct access to customized imagery products.

“The Image extension to ArcGIS Server saves BaySF money because it is a powerful and reliable system for managing imagery data,” says Bernhard Müller, GIS manager of BaySF. “It plays a pivotal role in giving us rapid access to terabytes of orthophotos, digital terrain models, topographic maps, and lidar data without the expense of increasing our database management resources.”

“ESRI has a long history of creating image management solutions,” says Peter Eredics, ESRI’s forestry manager. “This technology enables dynamic server-side processing, on-the-fly mosaicking, and flexible dissemination of raster datasets, solving the traditional image management challenges that organizations face. Its speed, reliability, and storage efficiency deliver measurable benefits for ESRI’s forestry customers around the world.”

For more information about the ArcGIS Server Image extension, visit For more information about Bayerische Staatsforsten, visit

ESRI Forestry GIS Journal
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