OTISS is being constantly improved to meet the requirements and suggestions made by our customers.

January 2022 – BS 5837 Groups of trees

The BSI 5837:2012 does not specify what to do with groups of trees in any great detail. With OTISS, Groups and Hedges can now be created by plotting a set of individual trees and then ‘wrapping’ them up to form a single item in your reports.

  1. Within the group, trees can be plotted and specified as normal and then they can be marked as Un-named trees – i.e. not allocated a Tree/Tag number such as T34. These ‘Un-named’ trees appear on the maps as crowns and/or RPAs, but they do not appear in the reports.
  2. A separate Group (polygon) is then drawn around the trees and it is used to report the survey notes, species, recommendations, etc. for the entire group.

Premium BS5837 users can already modify the RPA of trees and groups. Now they have additional buttons to automatically create the crown and RPA of a group so that they neatly enclose the trees within the group.

Read More…

January 2022 – Maps and Printing

Earlier in 2021 we did a major upgrade to the maps on the web site and the Survey Apps. Based on your feedback and suggestions we have enhanced them as follows:

  • The Map Print page has been upgraded to download high resolution PDFs and JPEGs. Read More…
  • The Map Colour Keys are more configurable – including numeric ranges and Work Due colours.
  • Selecting trees is now always done by clicking on the central icon or text label. You told us that selecting via the crown spread shape was not helpful when the trees are crowded.
  • Improved ease of use (and bug fixes) for the various Map and Measure features.

January 2022 – More for ‘What 3 Words’

For our Premium users only, we have added more support for What 3 Words on the website and in the Excel Reports.

  • The ///what3words address now appears on the Survey Form along side the grid reference – e.g. TQ 45895 79987, ///wells.spend.join
  • Not on the standard reports, but when using the Excel Report Templates, you can simply add a column called “What 3 Words” into the table. OTISS will fill in the address. Note: adding this column will slow down the report generation a little (because the addresses have to be calculated) – allow 30 seconds extra per 1000 trees.

January 2022 – Qarb Support

KTF Software provides Qarb as a plug in CAD application for both BricsCAD® and AutoCAD® that creates BS5837 compliant drawings for tree reports and plotting trees on any type of Tree Survey Plan.

OTISS can generate a CSV formatted file that can be imported into Qarb. This makes it seamless to use OTISS for BS5837 data collection and Qarb for preparing your CAD drawings. Read More…

OS Premium Data

August 2021 – Public Sector users and clients

OTISS provides access to the UK Ordnance Survey maps, but only down to a certain zoom level. Access to the OS Premium Maps is possible when working with Public Sector organisations.

Public Sector users and Arb Consultants who are working for Public Sector clients can have access to the OS Premium maps via OTISS and the OS Data Hub website.

Read More…

August 2021 – Your suggestions

We have added a few new features based on your suggestions. Including:

  • Export BS5837 and TreeSafety DXF files for use in PT-Mapper (Pear Technology) – Read More…
  • On the Maps webpage, you can now configure the BS5837 RPA Colour.
  • We now have Google Hybrid maps available on the website.
  • Excel reports have Latin species names in italics – White Mulberry (Morus alba).
  • Along with other minor updates and fixes…

April 2021 – V3.00 all about maps

The V3.00 is a major update of all the map features on both the web site and the survey apps. We have kept all the familiar commands and menus – but made lots of improvements – especially on the mobile survey apps.

  • UK Ordnance Survey maps are now included in your subscription (but not OS MasterMap). The full OS Mastermap is available to Public Sector users (OS PSGA/PSMA licensees).
  • Site Boundaries are displayed and can be updated on the survey apps.
  • More options when displaying icons on the survey apps (e.g. crown spread; RPA; curved shapes for groups of trees).
  • When you Add Tree/Group and fill in the survey form, you can immediately drag it to a better position or reshape it.
  • Re-position labels to improve presentation for crowded areas – see video.
  • The Georeference webpage now shows the underlaying basemaps so you can to check accuracy.

In addition for our premium users:

  • A new Measure tools to check distances and accurately position trees and assets – see video.
  • BS5837 users can now Modify an RPA polygon on map to account for tree and site features – see video.
  • Download a complete map of UK & Ireland for use offline.

October 2020 – OTISS with sub-metre GPS.

We did some testing of the OTISS survey apps with the Trimble TDC600 rugged Android and the Trimble Catalyst GPS – with excellent results!

The OTISS survey apps run on your Android phone/tablet. Good quality phones/tablets can typically achieve 3-5 metre accuracy in the right conditions.  In many of cases, this is accurate enough when combined with good maps and your own site plans. But for greater accuracy, you have two options:

(1) Rugged Androids – with very accurate GPS/GNSS are more expensive than the normal phones and tablets – but are ideal for outdoor use. They are waterproof (IP67), rugged construction, bright display screens and bigger batteries. There are several manufacturers for rugged Androids – Read More…

(2) Standalone GPS/GNSS receivers are designed for much greater precision – from 2.5 metres to 5 centimetre accuracy. It is now very easy to link a very accurate external Bluetooth GPS device to your phone/tablet and benefit from the improved accuracy – Read More…

August 2020 – Work Surveys

Last year we introduced the Work Done fields to record when the recommended actions were completed, along with some Work Notes.

Now we have added a Work stage to the survey process. The important thing about the Work stage, is that none of the inspection details, recommendations or photos can be changed – only the Work Done checkbox and work notes can be updated – and more photos taken of course.

After the inspections have all been carried out by the qualified arborist, the survey can be moved from Active to Work stage, and other OTISS users can be assigned to the survey. This allows estate staff or arboricultural contractors to carry out and record the work done. Using the OTISS Tree Survey app, they download the Work survey and see all the trees that require work on their phone/tablet. They use the app to tick the ‘Work Completed’ checkbox, add notes (if required) and can take photos to show the results. Read more…

  • For the Work Surveys feature, you will need to upgrade to the latest V2.80 release of the surveys apps.

July 2020 – Have you heard about ‘What 3 Words’?

What3words is an interesting way for the general public to pinpoint a location on a map. There is a free smart phone app available, so all anyone has to do is open the app and it will describe their current location using 3 simple words.

What3words can be used to describe a GPS position anywhere on the globe – accurate to 3metre x 3metres. The app still uses GPS to know its position – but when accuracy it not crucial – then ///daily.cycle.amuse is easier to communicate than N51° 30.536′ W000° 07.447′ or 51.508934, -0.124111.

Initially used by the emergency services, but increasingly by other local authorities and the general public, what3words is gradually becoming more widely used. We may see it more in our industry.

  • Your customer could use it to describe a tree they are worried about.
  • A volunteer or community survey of the trees for a parish council.
  • Ecology habitat surveys.

As a first step, we have added a feature to pin-point a what3words location on the OTISS maps. On the Maps webpage, press the Address button and type in the what3words.

Please get in touch with OTISS if you are finding ways that what3words is becoming useful in the arboriculture industry and we will expand our support within OTISS.

May & June 2020 – Website updates

We have been updating and enhancing many of the website pages to have a cleaner and un-cluttered look. Also adding more help and a few enhancements from our wishlist. Hope you like it!

March 2020 – Working together

Tree management is often a team effort. The team often includes; estate manager, groundsmen, rangers, caretakers, and office staff, working alongside arboricultural consultants and contractors. Good communication within the team is vital.

Sending Emails

Various Send Email buttons have been added around the website to provide a convenient one-click option to send emails to all the other OTISS users working on the estate. Your normal email application (e.g. Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.) is used and a partial email is composed. The subject line includes the site name and the tree’s or item’s reference. You complete and send the email as normal. Use the Client/Estate Access web page to configure who is on the To: and Cc: lines of the email.

Its only a little feature! But hopefully it makes communication easier within the team.

Sharing Documents and Reports

OTISS now provides some extra storage for documents, reports and files so that they can be stored on the OTISS server and shared with all the estate users.  This storage is intended to be used solely as a means of sharing documents between the different organisations involved – i.e. estate managers, consultants, contractors, etc.

Just one of the many benefits of using an online system.

This new document storage is in addition to the existing Photos feature where each tree/item can have photos (and documents) linked to them.

March 2020 – Tree Species

On screen and in reports we now use the common species names e.g. ‘Silver Birch’. In the past, our species names were worded as ‘Birch, Silver’, ‘Birch, White’, etc (i.e. grouped together by the genus) to make searching and selecting a species easier. But recent search/filter improvements in the mobile app and website have this format unnecessary. So we have switched to the more ‘normal’ English usage. This will make your the reports and descriptions better.

But when searching for a species on the mobile apps, we have kept the familiar ‘genus ordered’ option that groups all the same genus together for easier selection. When selecting a tree species, you can now choose between ‘Common’, ‘Ordered’ and ‘Botanical’ names.

We also added a set of Swedish tree species for our new customers in Sweden.

March 2020 – More Security

March 2020 sees us continuing our focus on security on the website and in the mobile survey apps.

We have improved password privacy by allowing users to register and login via Google/Facebook/etc. As long as you use the same email address as used in Google/Facebook/etc, you can use OTISS fully and we never see (or store) your password.

We only login via Google/Facebook/etc in order to check who you are (i.e. authentication). Apart from your name and email address, we have no permission or ability to access any other information in your Google/Facebook account.

Also improved the security for the mobile survey apps – more behind the scenes stuff that you (hopefully) will never see.

January 2020 – All about Security

For January 2020 we have been beefing up our security. Nothing that will change how you use OTISS – just better protection for our (and your) peace of mind. Including:

  • Upgraded security/protection on the website itself;
  • Better encryption of your passwords (we could never read your passwords anyway – but now its just tighter encryption);
  • Upgraded anti-virus and intrusion protection on the OTISS servers;
  • Much more powerful servers with higher performance and more bandwidth.

December 2019 – Improved website and help

Updated the website pages to present a more modern, clearer layout and presentation of the sites and survey data. We have added more summary help information on each page which we hope will serve to remind you how to get things done, but also links to the more extensive information and guidence on our Support website.

In addition, there are a few small map related enhancements:

  • Zoom to a site on the map by entering a post code or postal address.
  • vertical information blocks when printing maps;

December 2019 – Exporting BS5837 to CAD

A few enhancements in how the BS5837 data collected in OTISS can be exported into CAD drawings.

  1. More options availabe when generating BS5837 CAD/DXF files. Shadow outlines for tree height and ultimate/mature tree height; customise a multi-line block of text to appear with each tree. Read More…
  2. KeyTREE now accepts polygons and estimated values. We continue to work closely with the KeyTREE team to make sure that all the information collected in OTISS can be easily and quickly transfered into CAD drawings using the KeyTREE product – see Using OTISS with KeyTREE.

June 2019 – Tree Valuation Methods

As an optional extra, you could also carry out a CAVAT or TEMPO valuation. The tree valuation sub-forms are simply part of a TreeSafety, Risk Assessment survey or BS5837 survey; or can be used to carry out tree stock valuation on an estate. As you fill in the valuation factors, the forms automatically calculate a resulting monetary value (£) or merit score. Read More…

June 2019 – Excel Reports – bells and whistles

We have added some snazzy improvements to the Excel Reports: Company logos; coloured cells based on Condition; Timescale, ISA TRAQ, QTRA risk rating; improved charts adjusted to cope with the multiple species in a group. Read More…

June 2019 – Recording the Work Done

For estates and arboricultural consultancies that followup the surveys to carry out the recommended works, we have added a set of ‘work done’ fields to record the date the work was done, by whom and some work notes. These could be filled in by the work team or by a followup visit to check the work. These work dates and notes allow for a complete record and audit trail of all survey and subsequent maintenance work on each tree. Read More…

June 2019 – Multiple Species per group

When you plot a Group, Hedge, Shrubs or Woodland (displayed as a polygon), then you can record multiple species with a Variety and NumTrees for each one. The NumTrees for each species are automatically added up and the total stored in the NumTrees field for the group. The multiple species are listed on the reports and the total Num Trees in the Excel charts and tables are also adjusted accordingly.

October 2018 – Markup photos on-site

You can markup a photo with some coloured lines and arrows to help clarify your recommendations for the work needed, or to point out some feature or defect that is mentioned in the survey notes. Read More…

October 2018 – Improved Client Management

Introducing an improved set of features to manage your growing list of clients. Read More…

October 2018 – QTRA – Quantified Tree Risk Assessment Method

TreeSafety risk assessment methodologies now include QTRA. Read More…

October 2018 – BS 5837 for veteran trees.

Following the ‘New Standing Advice: Ancient Woodland and Veteran Trees‘ (Nov 2017) from Natural England and the Forestry Commission, we now calculate the RPA of a ‘veteran’ tree as 15 times the stem diameter – instead of 12 times for other trees.

August 2018 – Lots of minor enhancements.

Over the summer we have made lots of minor fixes and enhancements suggested by our users.

January 2018 – Photos in Reports

There are now Survey and Recommendation reports that include thumbnail photos for each tree/item. Read More…

January 2018 – Client Templates

For Arboricultural Consultants working with many clients, you can create one or more clients and use them as survey ‘templates’ for future actual clients. Read More…

November 2017 – More CAD support

Many architects provide drawings in milli-metre units, these can now be directly imported into OTISS. Read More…

October 2017 – Survey app enhancements

The Survey apps and website have been improved with some enhancements suggested by our users.  Read More…

August 2017 – Export BS5837 data to KeyTREE

OTISS is an excellant data collection system that can be used with KeyTREE for preparing your CAD drawings.  Read More…

July 2017 – History of a tree/item

A new webpage provides you with a complete audit trial and maintenance history for each tree/item. A complete history of all the inspections, photos and reports for each tree/item.  Read More…

July 2017 – Download Offline Maps

For survey areas with poor 4G/3G mobile signal, it is now easier to pre-load the maps before you leave your home/office.  Read More…

May 2017 – Take Photos as part of the Survey

You can store photos and other documents with each tree or item. A good photo may reduce the need to provide a detailed description, and so speed up the survey process.  Read More…

March 2017 – Australia and New Zealand

OTISS users in Australia and New Zealand now have a list of native trees species. We also support GDA/MGA and NZTM2000 map reference systems. Read more…

March 2017 – Various Updates

Our latest release of the website and survey apps contains a lots of small enhancements and bugfixes. Read about the main ones…

February 2017 – Our new website has gone live!

We have updated the layout and format of the sales and support websites. They are now much easier to use on tablets and phones. We hope that the simpler menus, better layout and search features of the support website will help our users to quickly find what they need.

October 2016 – CAD Drawings – DWG and DXF

CAD drawings (in DWG and DXF formats) can be loaded directly into OTISS to use as your site/topo plan. Read all about our CAD support.

October 2016 – Geo-reference your PDFs and site plans

You can tell OTISS the grid references for your PDF site plans and use them with GPS and aerial views.  Read more about geo-referencing.

July 2016 – Google Aerial Maps

Google Roads map, Google Aerial map and Open Street Maps are now available on the OTISS website and all the Android™ survey apps.

July 2016 – More survey customisation features

Our survey forms are now much more configurable; names, picklist, mandatory, range checks… Read more about the new survey customisation features.

January 2016 – Using OTISS and GIS

Many of our customers have to deal directly or indirectly with Geographic information system (GIS) systems. Read more about the GIS features and formats.

October 2015  – Improved Survey apps

We recently improved all our Android Survey apps with a range of new features to make your surveying easier. Tool Bar, List View, more Settings – read more…

March 2015  – New TreeSafety features

New Tree Safety features have appeared on the OTISS website and survey apps. Tree Species, tag numbers, Risk Zones – read more…

March 2015 – New BS5837 Features

New features for BS5837 surveys include Estate Tree Species, Crown Radius and RPA on maps, tag numbers. Read more…

September 2014 – Excel Template Reports

A powerful system to provide you with a range of Excel reports with data tables and summary charts.  Read more about our Excel Template Reports.

August 2014 – Tree Risk Assessment

OTISS now supports various tree safety risk assessment methodologies (e.g. ISA, Matheny and Clark 1994, THREATS ). Read more…

March 2014 Printing Maps

Two new features have been added on the Maps page.  Icon sizes and Printing Maps.

March 2014 Support for Excel 2013

We have added a set of reports using the Excel XLSX format (in addition to the existing XLS format). These allow for better integration with Microsoft Office 2013 which expects all Excel documents to be in the XLSX format. Support for Excel 2013