In a recent conversation with Will
Blozan, Will and I discussed the desirability of including a variety
of simple problems the solution to which should be second nature to
the experienced Ent engaged in tree measuring. What we have in mind
are straightforward application of right angle trigonometry .
Problem #6, presented in the attachment, is an example.
Problem #6: A measurer wants to
determine the spread of the crown of a tree being measured. However,
on one side of the tree, the end of the crown is inaccessible to the
measurer (on private property, extends over a structure, etc.). The
end of the crown is visible from the trunk. If the measurer has a
laser and clinometer, standing at the trunk, how may he/she
calculate the horizontal extension of the limb?
Solution: This is a simple problem for
right angle trigonometry. The diagram below shows the calculation
Comments: We have used the cosine
function to compute horizontal offset of the
crown point, but the cosine function has many
other uses. It is important to always keep in mind the relationships
of sine, cosine, and tangent. They all have applications.