Spreadsheet Format For Tree Data  

TOPIC: Spreadsheet format for tree data

== 1 of 3 ==
Date: Sun, Feb 24 2008 12:43 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


At some point we will need to archive the various data sets that people are collecting in the field. It would be great if we could decide on an expandable format for our tree measurement data that everyone could implement, and so that our disjointed individual lists could be merged and worked with as part of a greater set.

At this point in time I see people dropping out of the group who have measurement data. I would as a priority like to get a copy of what everybody has at this point before the information is lost. Getting people to add a GUID would be great, because it would allow the interlinking of miscellaneous materials, photos, trip reports, and documents to the trees involved. We need to secure the data collected already for archival purposes. I am afraid that big chunks of what Colby collected may be of limited value because of lack of good location data. I am sure that there would be measurements of the same tree that will need to be consolidated because of different ID's given by different measurers. There should be a column for the tree status healthy, ailing, dead....

This is my idea for a spreadsheet that could encompass the various types of field data we are collecting. I am not saying that everyone needs to convert to this or other format from what they are doing now, nor that they need to fill in every blank. This would represent the columns on a master list. Individual data collected by different people could be copied column by column into this format in some sort of a reasonable order. It would be most helpful if the location information, and the Latitude and Longitude information could be broken into individual columns rather than lumped together into single columns. Additional columns could be added to the spreadsheet as we develop more topics to be measured. New people with little data could use this as a base format from the beginning.

I will need to develop a sheet for compiling multitrunk data, but this does have a place to note whether the tree is multitrunk or single trunk.

Anyway this is my idea. What does everyone think? What columns should be added, if any?

Ed Frank

GUID (to be determined)
Compiler's Name
collector's ID notation

Species (common Name)
Species (Scientific Name)
Tree Name

Location - State
Location - County
Location - Site (Park, Forest, City)
Location - Subsite (or address)
Location - comment on surface detail (ravine, hilltop, swamp, etc)

Date of measurement (yyyymmdd)
Number of trunks
Tree health/ status

Tree Height
Method of Height Measurement (pole, tape drop, sin top/sin bottom)
If sin top/sin bottom
Angle 1 (to top)
Distance 1 (to top)
Angle 2 (to base)
Distance 2 (to base)
Height Comments

Girth Height if not 4.5 feet
Girth Comment

Average Crown Spread
Crown Comments

General Comments

Photographs (Yes or No)
Data Folder

Trunk Volume
Total Volume w/limbs
3D Mapping (yes or no)
Volume Method

Age Estimate
Measured Age (Ring Count or Cross Dated)
Age Comments

Map or GPS
Elevation (map)
GPS Comment

Base of Crown Height
Live Crown Length
Live Crown Ratio
Crown Volume

TDI Calculation
Date calculated
H/D Ratio
American Forest Points

== 2 of 3 ==
Date: Sun, Feb 24 2008 2:29 pm
From: doug bidlack


I think this is a great idea! Maybe this list should
be updated each year and 'published' on the ENTS web
site. This will allow everyone to see which species
we are not measuring...a heck of alot! Might be a
good way to give us a kick in the pants for all the
undermeasured trees.

I know that everyone likes to divide regions based on
political boundaries because that is how we tend to do
everything, but shouldn't we at least attempt to look
at tree sizes within more naturally defined
boundaries? I'm sure this has been brought up before,
but I'm not sure what happened with that line of


== 3 of 3 ==
Date: Sun, Feb 24 2008 3:44 pm
From: "Edward Frank"


The list will be massive and impractical to post. But summaries will be available for people doing research. I would like to see other materials archived by the collector made part of the overall archive.

First I could see a trip report folder being made that would include the trip report for the site, copies of photos taken on the trip, and other material collected related to the site. Like I commonly research a site on the internet before visiting. I often save these results, if they are significant -newspaper articles, descriptions, maps, etc. Website pages can be saved as a single mht file that includes all the photos and formatting of the site in a single file. These downloads could be saved as part of the report folder, and as part of the permanent archive. It could be named by date in the yyyymmdd format and a site designation. An example might be "20080223-cfsp" as a folder name. I made a column where this folder name could be listed.

Some of the tree location information is sensitive or on private property. We need the info for archival purposes or to use anonymously as part of a larger data set, but it would not be material we would want to publish to the website. So some of the information needs to be kept private, or need to know only. Perhaps I should add a place for owner information, address, phone, and email?

Ed Frank


wouldn't it be possible to put a minimum amount of
info on the website.  Just species, height, girth,
spread and volume champs.  Location can be reduced to
county or even state.  I guess I thought that part of
the reason for this list might be to share this info
with the public so that people start using these
numbers rather than the AF numbers.  If everything is
kept 'in house' we are simply preaching to the choir
and we really have no right to complain when people
use incorrect heights for trees.

Doug Bidlack


 i think listing by natural boundaries is a fantastic idea. how about
listing species by ecoregions or E. Lucy Braun's or Jim Dyer's 
vegetational areas? there are fewer of those areas than states. one
could list them from N --> S w/in each region by listing them by latitude.

 Neil Pederson



I was thinking about ecoregions which are partially
based on vegetation, but I figured others would know
of the best natural forest boundaries to use.

Doug Bidlack

I will post the tree maximums, locations, etc. for all of the species we have.  That is one of the plans for the listing being compiled for Bob's Silvic Manual update project.  We have a list, but it is out of date.
Ed Frank



When you mention ecoregions or E. Lucy Braun's or Jim
Dyer's vegtational areas the every day common folk
(like me) are going to go "huh?"  Whereas when you
mention a state's name everyone knows where you are
talking about.

Beth Koebel


 You are correct.

ENTS can provide maps and explanations to ecoregions that would
accompany their databases and state info can be included in data
description. I like Doug's ideas for natural boundaries VS political
boundaries because it might better reflect  some of ENTS goals, i.e.,
height maximums in different forest types or regions.

 Here are links describing Ecoregions and then an atlas to play with -
I'd start with the atlas cuz, you know, a picture is worth 1000 words.

 Map info:

 Interactive Map:

 Now, people can say, "I don't agree with that classification" and such,
more so than political boundaries [though I know of people who argue
with political boundaries], but the map above is a good starting place.
It looks very much like the major veg maps produced through the yrs.

 hope this helps,
 neil pederson

The exact opposite argument could be made.  That for the basic listing purposes, and accessibility for the general public, the listings should be made on conventional political or geographic boundaries. While for scientific purposes, since the county or GPS locations are provided, they could be used to sort the data into the appropriate sets for whatever type of comparison is being made, and by whatever criteria and boundaries you want to define.  It could be argued that the political/state boundaries are more stable and reflect real life management boundaries, while the ecoregion definitions are subject to revision and reinterpretation on a regular basis.
I would favor a sorting by state boundaries that best match, the irregularly shaped ecoregions.
Ed Frank



Sure. It would be good to include all location information so that it
could be sorted for a particular goal - public outreach, scientific

 neil pederson


Since you mentioned our right to complain, I will go ahead and do so.

How could supposedly intelligent people get the ecoregions in Minnesota and
the rest of the western Great Lakes so badly wrong??  The Bailey map and
the one used by the Forest Service absolutely defy what you see when you
drive across the region (unless you can't tell one tree species from
another and just classify the vegetation as trees or no trees). The
province descriptions on the Forest Service website are dead wrong with
their disturbance regimes.

Lee Frelich

huh, that is amazing. i had no idea it was off so badly up there. do you
like Braun's mapping or other vegetational maps? i guess i've been
spoiled by working in areas where, mostly NYS and parts of New England
where these type of maps are pretty good. Illick has one from 1915 for
NYS that is pretty good.

 i really like the idea of natural divisions. i had no idea that MN and
other areas could be so wrong. wow!

 thanks Lee,

Have both fields, GIS can show each field, or both fields...


Sure, the ecosystem classification developed by Minnesota DNR works fine
for me.


At 09:07 PM 2/26/2008, you wrote:

>do you know of another ecoregional classification that
>better fits what you see in Minnesota?  If not, do you
>believe that one can be developed?