BS5837 Survey software on Android

The BS5837 Survey Android™ app provides on-site data collection for BS5837 Surveys.  The app works as part of the OTISS BS5837 software system to sync maps and inspection data with the secure website. The website is used to view, update and process the survey data, and to generate reports and CAD drawings.

Using the online maps, the app lets you create new trees and re-survey existing trees, then you are presented with the BS5837 Inspection form which allows you to fill in the BS5837 inspection data.


  • Use the Species button to assign a genus/species.
    • (a) the species list can be ordered alphabetically by Common or by Botanical name,
    • (b) swap between the full list of species and a shorter list of species already used on the site.
    • (c) start typing some letters in the Search/filter box to find what you are looking for.
  • Use the Not identified species if you are not sure.
  • If the species you require is not in the list, you can add species to the Estate Species list. This new estate species will be copied to the OTISS website when the survey is next sync’ed.
  • The Variety field allows for further distinctions to be recorded (if required). Enter some text or select from the dropdown list (configurable).

Tree reference/tag numbers

It is important that the tree reference/tag numbers can be sorted in OTISS and also in Excel, Word and other data/GIS applications. Unfortunately, the ‘simple’ approach of using T1, T2, … T10, T11,. T20, T21, etc. does not allow for sensible sorting in Excel, Word, OTISS etc. Instead we must adopt an approach where the number of digits in each tag is the same for all the trees.

  •  When surveying up to 100 trees, the following set of tags is recommended: T01, T02, … T10, G11, … G20, T21, T99 etc. You will notice that there is always 2 digits in each tag – i.e. the numbers 1 to 9 must have a zero, T01… T09.
  •  When surveying between up to 1000 trees, the following set of tags is recommended: T001, T002, … T010, G011, … G020, T021, … T100, T101, … T999. etc. You will notice that there is always 3 digits in each tag – i.e. the numbers 1 to 99 must have leading zeros.

Tree Structure

Each tree’s TreeStructure field is used to change the map representation. Individual trees are shown as point icons. Groups, Hedges and Shrub areas are shown as polygon shapes. Simply select a structure and press SAVE to change the shape. On the map, the Move and Re-shape tools are used to postion and draw the shapes you require.


  • Measurements for height, crown spread and clearance are automatically rounded to nearest 0.5m or 1m – as specified in BS5837.
  • Measurements for stem diameters are rounded to the nearest 10mm – as specified in BS5837.
  • The calculations for combined stem diameter and RPA are calculated as specified in BS5837. For ‘veteran’ trees the RPA is calculated as 15x stem diameter as per the 2017 guidence.
  • For estimated values, press the tick icon to change it into a # symbol. For measured values, press the ‘#’ icon to change it into a tick symbol.

Stem Diameters & RPA

Measurements for stem diameters are rounded to the nearest 10mm – as specified in BS5837. Multiple stem diameters can be entered as a list of numbers separated by commas, spaces or dots.

  • Single stem tree. Enter Num. Stems=1 and Stem Diameters=X.
  • For a small number of stems where you can measure each one. Enter the Stem Diameters=X,Y,Z (numbers separated by space, comma or dot). The app will update the Num. Stems field.
  • For coppiced/multi-stem trees where there are too many stems to measure, you must estimate a count and an average. Enter Num. Stems=N and Stem Diameters=Y.

Premium users can select the Modify RPA on Map option and then use the RPA tool on the map to adjust the RPA to account for specific tree and site conditions. Note for KeyTREE users, this modified RPA is NOT supported by the kml export.

Survey Notes…

The Survey Notes, Recommendation and Comments fields allow for free text entry.

Below each field there is another button that brings up a dialog with a picklist of commonly used sentences and phrases. Select one or more of these to be added to the survey field. Use the search box at the top of the dialog to quickly find the ones you need. These items in the pick list can be changed on the Customise Survey webpage – so they can be tailor modified to suit this particular project or client.

Custom Fields

You can show/hide many of the non BS standard fields and customise the values in various dropdown lists on the BS5837 Customise Survey webpage of the website. Any changes will be downloaded to the app when you next Sync the survey.

Action Bar

  • Save all the changes made so far and return to the map.
  • Cancel any changes made so far and return to the map.
  • Delete this inspection.
  • The font size can be changed using the Settings icon. The smaller sized fonts are suitable for phones, whereas the larger font sizes are best suited to tablets.