Digitization has reached even forestry: Alongside chainsaws and jerrycans, tablets are now often taken along into the forest to record relevant data in the field and simplify the workflow.
In a recent announcement , the organizers of the FORST Live forestry trade fair in Offenburg have updated the image of the rough-hewn woodsman who relies solely on an ax and a chain saw: "Digitization is gaining momentum and setting new standards through the outdoor use of mobile components such as cell phones and tablets," says graduate forest manager Achim Steudle of Giscon Geoinformatics. Workers use their mobile devices in the forest to collect timber data – tree species, length, diameter, etc. – and send them to the PC in the office. Once the timber is shipped, an office colleague can create the invoice or decide on the further use of the logging in the ERP system. Even heavy equipment can quickly be remotely serviced through a connection to the engine or hydraulic controls in case of a breakdown.
Geo-information and positioning systems such as GIS and GPS play an equally important role. Once the driver has entered into his system the location of the timber to be collected, the logs are transported to the collection site along safe and broad access roads. This, however, requires geo-information as open data, as the Bavarian Farmers Association, among others, emphasizes in its position paper "Rural Agriculture and Forestry 4.0" The state forestry service Hessen-Forst has already been using satellite-supported alarm systems to take action against timber thieves for several years now: A hidden Forestry Tracker is activated as soon as the trunk is moved outside of schedule, and sends its GPS coordinates to the monitoring server via mobile communications.