Frequently Asked Questions


 
What is TreeWorks?
TreeWorks is an urban forestry management tool representing the culmination of years of research by our partnership of GIS developers and arborists. Users are able to build their tree inventory through an integration of field-based data collection and office-based analysis and reporting. Simultaneously arborists can manage maintenance responsibilities, track service requests, and amend work orders to effectively map and report off tree inventory data.


We have tree inventory data already; can we convert it to TreeWorks format and continue building upon it?
Yes. We have provided this service to several of our users. The additional fee for the data migration would vary depending on the number of trees involved, and on how close in format the existing data is to the TreeWorks format.


Is TreeWorks "Cloud-Based"?
Yes. If you want it to be.The main database is stored on your organizations server. This is generally a shared drive on an organization network that users/ members can access to edit and view your tree data and other GIS Information. Organizations may also store their inventory on their ArcGIS Online Organization Account in the cloud. This allows for on-the-fly smartphone and tablet editing in the field.


What if I don’t have an ArcGIS Online Account?
You should have one. ESRI offers all organizations a free account when they purchase annual ESRI Maintenance. Just sign up. For more information from ESRI click here.


Can I use TreeWorks Online without an ArcGIS Online Account?
Nope. The TreeWorks Online component utilizes methods from the ESRI ArcGIS REST API, so TreeWorks Online data must be stored on the ArcGIS Online Server. This is not possible if you don’t have an ArcGIS Online Account. However you could still use ArcGIS Desktop the ArcPad mobile data collection component. You just wouldn’t have the TreeWorks Online componenent.

Is TreeWorks "GPS-enabled"?
Yes. If your field unit contains a GPS receiver, or can be connected to one, you can use the GPS signal to create your tree site points. Normally, though, we have found that the most efficient and economical way to accurately locate your tree sites in an urban setting is to use aerial photography. When you are in the field, zoom in on the map to where you are standing, and there is the tree on the aerial photo; use the stylus to tap the screen and create the tree point!


I hear that the GPS Receivers in phones or tablets are not very accurate. Is this true?
Yeah. It’s true. They've gotten better though. They are accurate to 5-6 meters. However there are Bluetooth GPS Receivers available from companies like Garmin and Dual that are IPhone and Andorid Compatible and cost around $100. This will get you around 2.5-3 meter accuracy which has long been the standard for most tree inventories. Also keep in mind, that for the most part, users utilize GPS to “get their bearings”. When they plot their tree location, they will most likely be recording location by clicking on their map with a stylus. This method is termed “geo-referencing”. Where high accuracy GPS receivers can be very helpful is when collecting new tree data in parks with overlapping canopy or if your imagery is out-of-date. When this happens, determining your exact location using satellite imagery can be difficult and GPS may offer you a more reliable recording.


What kind of Mobile Data Collectors can be used with TreeWorks?
Great question. The answer is anything. If you are using TreeWorks Online, you can use any device as long as you are online and have access to a web browser (Google Chrome, Apple Safari, etc.) If you are using ESRI ArcPad as a data collector you can user Any Windows 7/8.1/10 or Windows Mobile Device. And some users use ArcMap in the field. If you want to do that you will need a Windows 7/8.1/10 tablet or laptop that meets the minimum hardware requirements. See TreeWorks for ArcGIS Desktop technical specs.


How does TreeWorks Online differ from TreeWorks for ArcPad?

First lets talk about how they're similar:
TreeWorks Online and TreeWorks for ArcPad are both mobile data collector programs and both programs/components are included in the TreeWorks for ArcGIS Desktop Suite.

Here’s how they differ:
· TreeWorks Online is cloud-based and TreeWorks for ArcPad is not. Since TreeWorks Online is cloud-based, you need an internet connection to collect and edit data. TreeWorks for ArcPad is designed to be completely offline. All the data is stored on the GPS/tablet. Since it’s not cloud-based, users are not required to be online and data collection is faster because all the data is on the device.
Since TreeWorks for ArcPad is an offline technology, data is transferred by a USB Cable or a Bluetooth connection at the office. Since TreeWorks Online is cloud-based, data is transferred seamlessly to the office as its being captured in the field. So you can get up to the minute progress from your field crews.

· TreeWorks Online and TreeWorks for ArcPad use different hardware/devices. TreeWorks Online works in a web browser, so you can use any smartphone or any tablet with the program. TreeWorks for ArcPad only uses Windows Mobile Based Devices and Windows 7/8.1/10 Tablets.

· They use different business models. TreeWorks Online utilizes ArcGIS Online storage and services. ArcGIS Online uses a Software-as-a-Service(SAS) model and it incorporates a token-based system where users are charged tokens based on usage. TreeWorks for ArcPad follows a more standard approach. Users purchase ArcPad software from ESRI or through an ESRI Seller such as the Kenerson Group and then they pay an annual fee for updates. So there’s advantages and disadvantages.

Is TreeWorks Online better than TreeWorks for ArcPad?
Good question. They both have they’re advantages. TreeWorks for ArcPad is recommended for building your inventory. Its time-tested, its fast, and its offline. It really doesn’t get any better or any faster. The negative is because its offline, inventory updates can only occur using a USB Cable or an SD Card from a GPS or Tablet PC to the office PC. TreeWorks Online is a cloud-based technology. Because it’s a cloud-based technology, there is more processing time in the field. Its real benefit is that anyone can use it at any time on any device and tree inventory updates that are recorded in the field are seen in the office in real-time. There is also no additional software to buy.
In short, we view TreeWorks for ArcPad as the tree inventory builder and TreeWorks Online as a tree inventory editor. Because of their different advantages, we envision most, if not all users will incorporate both components. The great news is that both TreeWorks for ArcPad and TreeWorks Online are included in the purchase price of ArcGIS Desktop and we can show you both technologies and you can chose which one works for you and your organizations workflow.

What if we only want TreeWorks Desktop?
TreeWorks comes equipped with both desktop and mobile capabilities. The desktop piece allows users to create, edit, analyze, and report off tree inventory data from the office. The mobile component gives users the option to checkout data to a an phone/tablet/handheld to create, view, and edit data in the field. The checkout capability is a baseline component of every software version. However, users may still use TreeWorks desktop without taking advantage of the mobile capability. This would be dependent upon strong organizational and field mapping skills to ensure managers are collecting the necessary data, and these data can be accurately attributed to the correct trees on an aerial photo.

Is TreeWorks compatible with other ArcGIS extensions?
Certainly! TreeWorks is compatible with other ArcGIS license levels. More advanced licensing rights don’t affect TreeWorks desktop as long as the basic ArcGIS desktop is installed.

Is there a TreeWorks viewer component?
Yes. You can setup a viewer through ArcGIS Online. Other options include exporting inventory data to ArcExplorer or Google Earth/Google Earth Pro which are free file viewers. A TreeWorks Reresentative can show you how.

How much is the software?
Software pricing is dependant on the number of Desktop Licenses. TreeWorks for ArcPad and TreeWorks Online Programs are included in the price. Please contact a TreeWorks Representative for more information.

I’ve never used GIS before, how will I receive training in TreeWorks?
The Kenerson Group offers an optional on-site training for TreeWorks customers. One of our skilled representatives will come to your city and offer TreeWorks demonstrations to your whole staff. This training will focus on both desktop applications and TreeWorks mobile functionality. Additionally, TreeWorks customers are eligible for unlimited phone and email support. We’re also available for topic-specific web-based seminars (webinars) detailing TreeWorks desktop and mobile functionality.

Can we share our tree data with other GIS users in our organization?
Yes. The TreeWorks tree database is a standard ArcGIS Personal Geodatabase; the Tree Sites data layer is a point feature class (i.e. a map layer with data linked to it) that can be added to any ArcGIS map. The geodatabase can be stored on a shared network for multi-user access. The work orders, maintenance history, species database, and other data related to the trees are in linked tables that are all stored in the one TreeWorks geodatabase file.

On going over the help I assume that the evaluation version I have is the Basic version rather than the Professional version? What’s the difference anyway?
The evaluation of TreeWorks should let you demo the full professional software version. The professional version should include both Service Request, and Work Order applications on the TW toolbar. These features would be “grayed-out” in the basic version.

Are the tree descriptors customizable? Can we use our own organizational terminology to describe maintenance tasks, work priority levels, land use categories, etc.? Can we add, modify, or remove species and other variables from the drop-down pick lists?
Yes. TreeWorks provides an easy-to-use Configuration tool that allows you to customize a significant proportion of the tree and maintenance descriptors and other program variables.

While configuring the drop down lists is very straightforward through the configuration interface, I was wondering what was involved in adding additional fields?
Applying user-configurations in the drop-down menus is a pretty straightforward process allowing managers to collect data which is meaningful to their unique management scenario. Adding fields is a bit more involved. To aid in this request, we have added a number of User Defined Fields that users can label and use how they desire. If you are still in need of more fields, please contact us and we can see what we can do!

Is the tree inventory just a "snapshot" in time, or can historical information be tracked?
Unlike most tree inventories, a TreeWorks database is "live." Any time you are in the field with your phone or tablet, it is an opportunity for you to add trees or planting sites, update existing tree attributes, add a maintenance task to a tree, and so on. Every update you make in the field is downloaded to the master database in the office. Of course, all maintenance work tracked through TreeWorks is automatically date-stamped and kept in the database, to be queried and reported on if desired. Additionally, the TreeWorks system is built on the idea of tree "sites". Tree sites, rather than trees, are inventoried and are categorized as trees, stumps, removal sites, or planting sites. As removals and plantings are completed, and a work history is generated, the sites are transformed from trees to stumps to planting sites or removal sites, and follow-up tasks are generated automatically. This alleviates the need for additional inventories beyond the original one; trees are added as they are planted, converted to stumps and planting sites as they are removed, and edited for task completion or task assignment as they receive attention.

Does the professional version allow me to generate custom reports or do I just do that on my own through Crystal reports working with the geodatabase?
Reporting tools in the professional version allow for user-specified reporting functions. In all honesty when it comes to generating reports the limiting factor is typically the user’s capability to generate customized queries using ArcGIS selection tools or the query tree sites tool in TreeWorks. If you know how to generate the right questions in TreeWorks and ArcGIS reporting opportunities tend to grow exponentially. If you don’t, TreeWorks staff can assist you with that. We can run reports based off either the users current selection or the entire TreeWorks dataset.

Can we leverage our organization's existing GIS resources (software, data, hardware, and staff)? Will TreeWorks integrate smoothly into our current organizational GIS?
Yes. TreeWorks is designed as a standard ESRI ArcGIS and ArcPad extension. You may use whatever basemap you use now, with "live" datasets loaded from a network server or locally-stored shapefiles, and drop the TreeWorks layers right in. A TreeWorks toolbar is added to the list of available toolbars within ArcMap. The TreeWorks database itself can be stored locally or on a network.

Our organization already has a work order (or budgeting, service requests, etc.) software system in place; can we use TreeWorks to create and maintain a tree inventory database, and integrate that into our existing work order system? If so, do we have to pay the full price?
Yes. The TreeWorks system is available in two levels: Basic and Professional. Both include TreeWorks Mobile. With the Basic level, you can build your tree inventory, analyze it, run reports on it, calculate appraisal values with it, and even track maintenance work tree-by-tree. The Professional level adds more sophisticated management capabilities, such as inputting, mapping and tracking service requests, analyzing your maintenance needs and creating, printing and logging work orders. So to answer the original question, you could create your tree inventory using the Basic version of TreeWorks, and use the GIS platform for analysis and presentations, while integrating the tree data into the framework of a municipal work management or budgeting system that is already in place. The Basic level of TreeWorks cost a little over half the price of the Pro version.

How can I get started?
Many people ready to begin using GIS find ArcGIS by ESRI an excellent point of departure. Many government agencies have collected vast amounts of data (roads, aerial photography, etc.) and make this data available to the public. This data availability makes initial use of GIS relatively simple and satisfying. Once base data is compiled and a system in place, the answers and analyses desired by the user will depend on his or her inputs. For example, a GIS user may wish to locate the potential habitat of the spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) and begin by collecting field data with a hand-held computer with GPS capability. Data will then be integrated to the GIS and compared to existing topographic data, forest cover types and land use. From there sharing data is possible through networking or simply e-mailing ArcGIS data to other users. Sharing your analyses and knowledge with others to advance your science through GIS is often the goal of a GIS user. Send us an e-mail at info@kenersongroup.com and we will be happy to reply or give you a call to discuss your GIS needs and how we might assist you in developing the solutions to your geographic needs. Also, visit the websites of your local GIS organizations to browse available data and the website of our business partner, AnythingGIS.com, for pricing and availability of ESRI software to get started.

Where can I get trained to use GIS to help my organization?
We employ one authorized ArcGIS trainer. Scott Lehto is excellent in adapting training lessons to your situation and offers ESRI's Introduction to ArcGIS I and custom training sessions. He generally travels to the user's site for training. Other training opportunities are available through ESRI and their online courses and through many local colleges and universities. Contact us for additional training information info@kenersongroup.com or search for local offerings.

What is GIS Analysis?
To answer this question, one must ask themselves a question. What problem do they want to solve? What question do they want answered? In general, GIS addresses issues that relate to answers with some spatial component. Consider the spatial relationship of most data and you will find that nearly everything in our world relates spatially from natural resource extraction and management to demographic data and sales potential. Some examples of questions which GIS may address might include: How many trees within this park are of poor condition and in proximity to playgrounds? What percentage of standing timber within this forest has been scheduled for harvesting within the next two years? Which properties have been scheduled for harvesting and what is their location related to highways and sawmills? If there is a major storm, how can one quickly determine which communities will be most affected by the storm's route? How will wildlife populations move across the landscape given habitat corridors and impediments to travel, such as highways and urban areas? A geographic information system (GIS) solution can be used to identify the answers to these questions using data provided and its relationship to the world around it.

Does TreeWorks function with concurrent-use ArcGIS licensing or just single-use licenses?
TreeWorks desktop is indeed compatible with ArcGIS concurrent-use licensing. The use limitations will be defined by the number of concurrent-use licenses and the number of TreeWorks seats you have.

Is TreeWorks available in concurrent-use format?
No. This is an ESRI-defined rule applying to developers of extension software. TreeWorks desktop use limitations are defined by the number of TreeWorks seats you hold.

Is ActiveSync or Windows Mobile Device Center necessary for ArcPad check-in / check-out procedures?
Well, no, ActiveSync and WMDC are strictly the vehicle which transfers data between your desktop and the hard disk memory of your mobile device. Using windows operations you can sync data from your computer to some external source like an SD card which is then read by your mobile device. Some users combine these processes so their imagery is always saved on their SD card and they continue to check-out data directly to the mobile device. This reduces the risk of bogging down your processing by storing too much data on the mobile device itself. Using an external memory source can limit some of the hiccups commonly associated with ActiveSync and WMDC.


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