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GNSS use in forestry – A multi-national survey from Iran, Slovakia and southern USA

Bettinger, Pete, Merry, Krista, Bayat, Mahmoud, Tomaštík, Julián
Computers and electronics in agriculture 2019
education programs, foresters, forestry, forests, global positioning systems, issues and policy, statistical analysis, surveys, Iran, Slovakia, Southeastern United States
The primary goals of this research were to understand the degree and frequency of use of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) technology among different sub-populations of foresters, the perceived ability to learn how to use the technology, the importance of different training program structures, and the perceived impediments to the use of GNSS in forestry. A survey of 14 questions was developed to collect information on these issues, and non-parametric statistical tests were employed on five of the questions to assess statistical significance. Foresters from three countries (Iran, Slovakia, United States) were surveyed to ascertain their use of global positioning systems during normal work activities. The response rate was about 20% for all three surveys, resulting in 962 responses overall. Key findings suggested that significant differences existed in sub-population characteristics (work experience, degree earned) and in the frequency of use and level of accuracy desired. However, even though the countries differ in importance of forestry (area of forests, GDP share) and also in terms of the technology availability and technological level to some degree, similarities were observed. These include type of technology employed, how GNSS was used in practice and the type of training program structures desired. Preference for hands-on training was a pervasive theme among the three countries. The knowledge that the navigation, location of owner and management boundaries and recording of sample plots are the most frequent tasks and the low- to mid-tier devices are the most prevalent, can help to aim further research, education and even policy making for the GNSS application in forestry.