The Wokingham District Veteran Tree Survey
Checking the survey results
English Oak (MRN 120)
Redlands Farm Park
On returning home the surveyors check the data they have collected. One of the more important tasks is to make sure that the grid reference recorded by the GPS is as accurate as possible and the WDVTA recommends the use of the map tool which works with Google Maps to correlate a grid reference with a Google Map location. The Surveyor's Handbook explains how to do this.
When the results have been checked and the photographs correlated with the records the surveyors submit the data to the parish co-ordinator. Surveyors comfortable with working with spreadsheets are encouraged to use the WDVTA Recording Form but if this is not possible then the co-ordinator will carry out this task. Photographs can be submitted via a service such as Dropbox or Google Drive, on a USB drive, or any medium agreed with the co-ordinator.
Surveying in Foxhill Wood
Submitting the survey results
The co-ordinator's task is to check the surveyors' results and submit them to the data manager. The spreadsheets and photographs are processed automatically and further checks on the data carried out. All valid records are added to the database and for each batch of records submitted the administrator produces a map of the area surveyed with each tree marked with the number that identifies it in the database. The map is returned to the co-ordinator who in turn forwards it to the original surveyors for verification.
The collected information is made available to the databases of the Woodland Trust, the Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre and the Trees and Landscape & Countryside Services department of Wokingham Borough Council.
Corrections and updates
People make mistakes and events happen. The Wokingham District Veteran Tree Survey takes account of life's great inevitabilities with forms and processes to amend the database in the event of an error or change in the status of a tree. Corrections may be made for a number of reasons such as:
- to improve the accuracy of the grid reference or the location description
- to correct misidentification of species
- to complete missing information
Updates are made to record a change of status, for example
- pollarding, felling or death of a tree
- change of environment (e.g. when a field becomes a housing estate)
- change to status as wildlife host
Anyone can send in a correction or update. This may be done using the webform on the tree details window displayed when the full details link has been activated for a tree record returned from the Map page. Alternatively, an amendment can be submitted using a form sent to the parish coordinator. Forms may be downloaded through the links on this page.
Chicken of the Woods
MRN 1971, Matthewsgreen
The database contains many records, some dating back to 2006. Data has been collected over a period of time during which our tools, training and techniques have greatly improved through experience and feedback from members. We now use more accurate surveying techniques and equipment. The completeness of information is very variable - some early records had no photographs and other information that we now consider essential may be missing. We have also found some duplicate records where owing to a misunderstanding over area boundaries two separate groups of surveyors have recorded the same tree! And of course, trees that were healthy and standing in earlier years may have succumbed to disease or removal.
For these reasons, the Association has embarked on a verification process. The database for a parish is examined and a selection of records chosen for verification. The selection criteria typically are:
- missing or bad photographs
- significant trees for which accurate data is highly desirable because of their size, age, species rarity or historic interest
- ambiguous or incomplete database record
Records chosen for verification are extracted from the database and copied semi-automatically to the verification form. Up to two pictures from the database can be copied to the form which can then be printed and used by the verifiers to locate the tree and record any changed information. The amendments are then transcribed to correction or update forms and submitted to the data manager. 'New' trees may well be discovered - having no records in the database and missed during the original survey of the area. In this case, the usual recording form is used.
The previous page introduces the survey techniques.
The next page offers hints on using the eTrex H handheld GPS.