Tree Safety surveys are typically carried out by Arboricultural Consultants or by experienced staff that are trained as tree safety inspectors. These people will visit the tree, carry out the inspection and record the results using the Tree Survey or Asset Survey Android™ applications (on their mobile phone or tablet), or the data can be noted down and later entered directly into the OTISS website.

Viewing the Tree Safety Data

The TreeSafety button shows the trees as rows on a table/spreadsheet. Read more about how to sort and filter the data and edit the data. The spreadsheet can be used to select/filter trees, and then various reports can be created.

The survey form can be customised to suit your own working practice and for each individual client’s requirement – see below.

The table (at bottom of this page) lists the data that is recorded for each tree inspection.

Species
Tree Species 1

Use the Species fields to assign a genus/species by Common or Botanical name. The Variety field allows for further distinctions to be recorded (if required) – enter some text or select from the configurable dropdown list.

If the Structure is 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.

OTISS provides several regional lists of tree species (e.g. UK/Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc.). Each list contains 100s of native and common species for that region. These lists also include entries for the genus (e.g. Willow sp.) for when species level identification is not required. You select the regional list at registration and never need to worry about it again. You cannot add or change these lists – they are shared between all OTISS users.

For each estate, you can build up a list of Estate Tree Species to augment the common species. On the survey forms, the two sets are presented as a single list of species. Use the Estate-> Tree Species website page to configure the species list. New species can also be added when using the OTISS survey apps.

If you find a species that you think should be added to the shared, regional OTISS lists, then please email the details to otiss@intrinsica.co.uk

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.

Survey Notes…

The Description and Survey Notes fields allow for free text entry. But to speed up the survey process we provide a means of quickly entering your commonly used sentences and phrases. Below each field there is another button that allows you to select from a list of commonly used sentences and phrases, these are appended to the text field and can then be modified to suit this particular inspection. You can customise this list of commonly used sentences and phrases via the Customise Survey button on the TreeSafety page – see below.

Recommendations…

The survey form has three separate Recommendation fields to record what work is required. Each recommendation field has a separate Timescale/priority, so that you can itemise short and long term work/maintenance recommendations. The Timescale fields record your suggestion of how quickly the work should be carried out; e.g. Urgent, 3 months, 1 year, etc. On the Maps page, you can colour code the icons based on when the recommendation/work is due for completion.

You have two options on what to do when there are no actions required on a particular tree. For some surveys, it is best to fill in the Recommendation field to say ‘No action required.‘ (or similar) and set the Timescale to ‘No Action‘. This provides an explict record of your recommendation and will be shown in all the Survey and Recommendation reports. Alternatively, you can simply leave the Recommendation fields blank. In this case, the Recommendation reports will be shorter, and focused on the works/actions required.

The Recommendations fields allow for free text entry. Below each field there is another button that allows you to select from a list of commonly used work items, these are appended to the text field and can then be modified as required. You can customise the Recommendations and Timescale fields via the Customise Survey button on the TreeSafety page – see below.

Work Done…

Each of the three Recommendations above also have a set of fields that are used to record the work actually carried out on the tree. WorkDone is always linked to a set of recommendations – so you have to first create a recommendation, and then add the work done information.

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.

The Work Done fields are accessed via a WorkDone button that is located beside the corresponding recommendation field on the survey form (both on the mobile survey apps and on the website). You can customise the WorkDone fields via the Customise Survey button on the TreeSafety page – see below. These WorkDone fields are often hidden whilst doing the surveying, and then made visible for the follow-up work.

The work dates and notes allow for a complete record and audit trail of all survey and subsequent maintenance work on each tree.

Trees, Groups and Hedges

TreeSafety highway

The Structure field is used to control how an item is displayed. Individual trees are shown as POINT icons. Groups, Hedges, Shrub and Woodland areas are shown as POLYGON shapes. Simply select a structure and press press Save – the location co-ordinates will be automatically converted to the required shape.

The location coordinates are shown in the standard Well Known Text (WKT) representation for GIS objects. We don’t expect that you will ever need to edit these coordinates directly. It is recommended to change the shape and location on the Map page. Valid WKT formats are as follows:-

  • POINT (x y)
  • POLYGON ((x1 y1, x2 y2, x3 y3, …, x1 y1)) – NB: the last set of coordinates must be the same as the first.

Risk Assessment

OTISS now supports various tree safety risk assessment methodologies (e.g. ISA 2013, Matheny and Clark 1994, THREATS). As part of each tree inspection, you fill in the risk factors that are used to automatically calculate a resulting risk category. OTISS supports many standard methodologies, and we provide two configurable algorithms to setup your own method. Read more…

Map Icon Colours

The colour of the map icons can be configured based on the data values assigned to some of the survey fields. The TreeSafety Colours panel is found via the Customise Survey button on the TreeSafety page.

The Populate Colours button allows you to pick one of the supported fields and it will create/update the colour key for that field. It will search the surveyed trees and add a value-colour entry for all the data values found. You can then use the Edit button to select a row and change the colours.

The Work Due value is calculated from the date of the inspection and the recommended timescale of carry out the work. Different colours can be setup to represent the priority of the required works; (a) no recommendations/no work required, (b) work already overdue, (c) work due within the next year, (d) work due after 1 year.

Survey/Client Templates

OTISS provides a set of standard TreeSafety and Risk Assessment survey forms with all the required fields and a few additional fields that may (or may not) be useful for you. Many people will use our standard survey form, but many users like to customise the survey form (a) to suit their own working practice and preferences, and/or (b) to accommodate a clients’ specific requirements.

We recommend that you setup a survey form that reflects your preferences and use that on all your clients. This is achieved using the ‘Client Templates‘ feature. You can create one or more ‘client templates’. These template ‘clients’ are not used for doing surveys or real projects – they are just an easy/familiar way for setting up and storing your ideal survey forms (and some other settings). Here is what you have to do.

  1. Create a client with a suitable name (e.g. ‘Tree Survey #1’).
  2. Select that client and customise it’s Survey Forms to be your ideal ‘standard’ – i.e. customise the field names, picklists of common values, mandatory fields, etc.
  3. Now every time you create a new a client, make sure to select ‘Tree Survey #1’ in the Client template field. The survey forms (and other settings) will be copied from the selected template.
  4. If required, the new client’s surveys can be customised further – without changing your template.

As you learn more about using OTISS, you can keep returning to the template client and tweaking it to make improvements. Then subsequent new clients will use your newly improved forms, or you can copy the changes into a specific client using the Survey Templates button as described below.

Customise the Survey Form

Each client has its own survey form which can be adapted to accommodate any specific requirements. Customizing a survey form for one client does not change the survey forms for your other clients. You can customise most of the fields on the survey form via the Customise Survey button on the TreeSafety page – i.e. all fields except those field marked with a * in the table below.

  • Each field has an ‘Id’ which is what OTISS uses (internally) to identify each field on the survey form and when generating reports.
  • The field’s ‘name‘ is what actually appears on the survey forms and reports. You can change the Field Name. A shorter name is suitable for columns in tables and spreadsheets, whereas a more informative name can be used on the survey forms.
  • A picklist of common values will speed up data entry on the mobile devices. This can be ‘suggestion’ list where you pick an item from the list but can also entry a value manually; or you can tick the “Value must be one of the list below” box, which means that you can only select from the list (i.e. manual entry is not allowed). It may be worthwhile adding ‘not applicable’ or ‘not recorded’ to the picklist for when an actual/sensible value is not appropriate.
  • Set some fields as mandatory so that you do not forget to provide a value when filling out the survey form.
  • Hide any unwanted fields to make the survey forms shorter and uncluttered.
  • You can configure minimum and maximum values for the numeric fields.

With the Survey Templates button, you can copy a survey that you setup for a different client or from one of your client templates. Use that as a starting point and then modify it further as required for this client.

Any suggestions?

OTISS is constantly developing to suit our users’ requirements. Please contact us if you have suggestions for features or options that you would like to see.

Tree Safety Data Fields

FieldDescription
Survey & Site * Each inspection is carried out within a Survey. The Survey dictates the site for this tree.
Location * The location – stored as longitude/latitude in the GIS database. Also displayed as national grid references.
Reference * A reference name or number. e.g. T01, G14.
Other ReferenceA TPO number, other reference(s) or tag number.
Species * A species selected from a list of tree species. The Common Species and the Estate Species are are presented as a single list. If the Tree Structure is a Group, Hedge, Shrubs or Woodland, then you can record multiple species and a variety and numTrees for each one.
VarietyA variety or cultivar (text).
DescriptionA detailed description of the tree. For example: its general structure, its location, potential targets at risk, etc. This information tends to be unchanging between inspections.
Tree StructureOne of: Tree, Multi-stemmed tree, Group, Hedge, Stump, etc. This field determines whether the icon is a point or a polygon.
Age ClassOne of: Newly Planted, Young, Early Mature, Mature, Over Mature, Veteran.
Life ExpectancyEstimate life expectancy or “remaining contribution” in years, e.g. 10+, 20+, etc.
Number of StemsNumber of stems in a multi-stemmed tree.

If the Structure is a Group, Hedge, Shrubs or Woodland, then the NumTrees for each species are automatically added up and the total stored in the this field for the group.
Inspection CycleHow long before this tree should be inspected again, e.g. 1 Year, 2 Years, 5 Years, etc.
ConditionA summary of the overall condition: good, fair, poor, dead
HeightA measurement or estimate of the height in metres.
DBHA measurement or estimate of the DBH in centi-metres. DBH means the diameter at breast height 1.5m. You can use this as milli-metres – just change the label.
Crown RadiusA measurement or estimate of the average crown radius in metres.
Survey NotesDetailed notes of what was seen during this inspection.
Risk AssessmentFour configurable riskFactor fields to record risks and a configurable riskCategory to show the final result. Alternatively, all five fields can simply be customised as extra fields in your survey – in exactly the same was as the other custom fields.
Recommendation 1
Timescale 1
WorkDone 1
A set of recommendations for maintenance work or further inspections required. A timescale for these recommendations, e.g. No Action, Urgent, 6 Months, 1 Year, 2 Years, etc.

During any follow-up work, you can use the WorkDone fields to record when, by whom and some notes about what work was actually carried out. These WorkDone fields are often hidden whilst doing the surveying, and then made visible for the follow-up work.
Recommendation 2
Timescale 2
WorkDone 2
Another set of recommendations for maintenance work or further inspections required. As above… These fields are often hidden if you only want to have one set of recommendations.
Recommendation 3
Timescale 3
WorkDone 3
Another set of recommendations for maintenance work or further inspections required. As above… These fields are often hidden if you only want to have one set of recommendations.
CustomText1A configurable text field (max 50 letters).
CustomText2A configurable text field (max 50 letters).
CustomText3A configurable text field (max 50 letters).
CustomNum1A configurable decimal number.
CustomNum2A configurable decimal number.
CustomNum3A configurable decimal number.
Date Inspected * The date on which the item was inspected.
User Name * The name of the person who carried out the inspection.
RemovedWhen an item is ticked as ‘removed’, then it will no longer appear on the maps or reports showing the ‘most recent’ survey data for that site. The previous survey data is retained, and can be seen when a specific survey is selected.