This page provides a step by step guide for estate managers using OTISS for monitoring the tree safety and field assets on their estate.
- Register with OTISS for a ‘Estate Manager’ account.
- Create sites that describe the layout of your estate.
- Do a baseline tree survey.
- Do a baseline furniture survey.
- Carry out the recommended maintenance work.
- Use OTISS for day-to-day reporting of issues and jobs to be done
- Plan your survey programme and annual maintenance.
- Use the reports, maps and data to help manage your estate assets and tree stock.
1. Register for an OTISS account
Free 30 day period to evaluate the OTISS features and services.
- First you must register with OTISS as a ‘Estate Manager’ account. This creates your ‘estate’ within the OTISS database. This account will be the main administrative account for your organisation.
- If you have staff or volunteers that also need to use OTISS, then you can register each one for an OTISS ‘Additional User’ account. You can select which level of access they require: ‘administrator’, ‘manager’ ‘surveyor’ or ‘viewer’. Note, additional user accounts are not available during the free trial.
- If you have existing spreadsheets, databases, KMLs or shapefiles with relevant tree or inspection data, we may be able to load these into OTISS. Please contact us for more information on what can be done.
2. Split the estate into several sites
OTISS lets you divide the estate into several ‘sites‘. A ‘site’ could be a park, a field, a groups of fields, a property, a car park – whatever you want it to be.
- Sites are used as convenient ways to manage the trees and assets on the estate. Reports and data queries can be based on sites. Surveys are carried out on a per-site basis.
- The OTISS site record includes; site name, description, location/address (e.g. for access) and contact information (e.g. key holders).
- Sites can also be used as ‘risk zones‘ as part of your Tree Safety Policy. A site/zone is allocated a Risk Category of high, medium or low. The high risk category is recommended for ‘where there is frequent public access to trees‘ (e.g. in and around picnic areas, schools, children’s playgrounds, popular foot paths, car parks, or at the side of busy roads) – OTISS and HSE guidelines.
- In addition to the online maps, you can upload your own estate maps, site plans, Ordnance Survey maps, geo-referenced maps or aerial photos. Plot directly onto these plans using the OTISS and the mobile survey apps.
- You can draw Site Boundaries to specify the exact ownership or legal boundaries of a site, or use the boundaries as a convenient way of splitting up a large estate or survey area.
- See How to create a new Site and Survey…
3. Initial Tree Survey
An initial baseline survey is carried out to establish the number, location and basic details of the trees within the property. Once you have created your initial sites, you create an OTISS ‘survey’ for each one and appoint the user(s) who will carry out the surveys.
- You (and your staff) could use the OTISS website and/or the Tree Survey Android application to plot the positions of the trees on the online maps. If the trees have been tagged, then these numbers should also be entered.
- Alternatively, if you have existing spreadsheets, databases, KMLs or shapefiles with relevant tree or inspection data, we may be able to load these into OTISS. Please contact us for more information on what can be done.
- It is recommended that you appoint a competent arboricultural professional to survey the health and safety aspects of the trees. Depending on your requirements, the consultant may carry out a range of surveys from a ‘quick visual check’, a Basic Tree Safety Inspection, a risk assessment, or a more detailed inspection.
- You should discuss and agree with the consultant what details are to be recorded for each tree. OTISS has many fields that may not be relevant to your requirements. Customise the Survey form with your own fields and options.
- Groups of trees may initially be plotted as a single unit; particular trees within the group may subsequently be plotted individually if the need arises.
- Although not all the trees will need to have detailed records, using OTISS and GPS enabled mobile phones and devices, it very easy for a user to view previous survey data, to update the records, or simply mark the tree as ‘inspected’.
- In all cases, your consultant will make recommendations concerning safety and long term management of the trees.
- Most of the fields on the Tree Safety survey form can be customised for your estate, see the tree safety data stored by OTISS for each item.
- When the survey is complete, a report can be created to view all the recommended actions.
- By setting the survey(s) to the ‘closed’ state, your effectively lock the survey from further changes – creating an audit trial showing how you are fulfilling your legal ‘duty of care’.
4. Initial Furniture Survey
An initial baseline survey is carried out to establish the number, location and basic details of the furniture within the property. You create an OTISS ‘survey’ for each site and assign user(s) who will carry out the surveys.
- You (and your staff) can use either the OTISS website and/or the Tree Survey Android™ application to plot the positions of the furniture on the online maps.
- Alternatively, if you have existing spreadsheets, databases, KMLs or shapefiles with relevant asset data, we may be able to load these into OTISS. Please contact us for more information on what can be done.
- Most of the furniture inspection fields can be customised for your estate, see the furniture survey data stored by OTISS for each item.
- When the survey is complete, a report can be created to view all the recommended actions.
5. Maintenance of the tree stock and outdoor furniture
The recommendations from the surveys will form the basis of your maintenance plans. The estate manager uses their own staff or independent contractors to carry out the maintenance work. OTISS provides a PDF and Excel Recommedation reports or you can create your own Excel template to tailor your reports.
Each of the Recommendations above also have a set of fields that are used to record the work actually carried out on the tree/item. We record the date the work was done, the name of the OTISS user (i.e. who was part of the team who actually did the work – or who did a followup visit to check everything was done) and some work notes. The work notes may be useful when the job was not straight-forward. You can record reasons why all the work was not completed, or why extra work was carried when more issues were uncovered.
6. Day-to-day – reporting issues and unplanned maintenance
Unplanned events, such as storms, vandalism, wear and tear or building works can impact the condition of the estate assets.
- OTISS makes it easy for staff to report a defect or to flag a tree as ‘need to investigate‘.
- In addition to the pre-planned surveys and works programme, a survey should be setup each year to catch the ‘unplanned’ incidents. The staff assigned to this survey can create/update a tree’s records at any time and the results are visible immediately in OTISS.
- Staff can access OTISS from their mobile phones and from office and home PCs.
- See How to re-survey an existing site…
7. Planned Survey/Inspection Cycles
OTISS enables the estate manager to plan future surveys on particular sites (e.g. annual or bi-annual surveys in accordence with Tree Safety Policy). Typically, an entire site would be surveyed, but OTISS allows each tree or asset to have a recommended inspection cycle, so those trees coming up for safety inspection could be identified.
The manager appoints a member of staff or an independent consultant to carry out the survey. Only when a survey’s status is marked as ‘active’, can the appointed user(s) access the appropriate information and carry out the survey. When the survey is complete, the manager protects the survey data from further changes by marking the survey as ‘closed’.
8. Maps, Spreadsheets and Reports
- OTISS maintains an audit trail of all surveys and inspections. Dates, names (staff and contractors), locations, descriptions, results etc. are all recorded.
- The inventory and survey data can be viewed and updated from any Web browser – only by authorised users of course!
- The spreadsheet page allows you to search and sort your data using multiple criteria. For example:
- “show me all items on a particular site that need work doing on them”,
- “show me all trees that are overdue for their next inspection”,
- “list all the signs and order them by age”.
- Reports can be created containing coloured charts, graphs and tables. Summary and Details reports and Work Schedules can be generated at any time.
- All the survey data can be downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet. This can be useful for further detailed analyse or customised reporting.
- Create PDFs of the trees and groups – colour-coded icons based on condition, workDue or other surveyed attributes. High quality maps and printouts can also be prepared using your own CAD application to combine your site/topo CAD drawing with the CAD/DXF files (provided by OTISS) of the tree locations.