BefThis page provides a step by step guide for trial managers using OTISS for monitoring the infrastructure, path issues and tree safety on your National Trail or footpath network..
- Register with OTISS for a ‘Estate Manager’ account.
- Create trail sections and sites that describe the layout of your trial.
- Do a baseline infrastructure and path issue survey.
- Do a baseline tree 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.
- Read the detailed Help pages to familiarise yourself with OTISS.
2. Split the trail into sections
OTISS lets you divide the trail into several ‘sections‘ or ‘sites‘. For example: a linear section could be 1 to 10 miles long; or a site could include all the paths on a particular farm or estate. Within OTISS, these sections and sites form the basis for carrying out surveys and generating reports. All infrastructure items, trees and path issues are assigned to these sections/sites.
- Sites are used as convenient ways to manage the infrastructure, path issues and trees on the trail. 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. rangers, wardens).
- In addition to the online maps, you can upload your own trail 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 showing the trail sections.
- Larger sections/sites can also be created to group together the low level sections/sites. These are useful for generating summary/collated reports. For example: all sections managed by a ranger or office; all sections controlled by a county council or national park; or whatever criteria you need for reporting.
- See How to create a new Site and Survey…
- Because trails cover such a large area, its best to discuss your trail maps with OTISS support staff first. We can bulk load lots of O.S. tiles or link in to an existing WMS map service. Read more about OTISS Maps.
4. Initial Infrastructure & Path Issue Survey
An initial baseline survey is carried out to establish the number, location and basic details of the infrastructure/outdoor-furniture items along the trails. You create an OTISS ‘survey’ for each site and assign user(s) who will carry out the surveys.
- Before doing any surveys, it is recommendend to first create all the infrastructure categories and types that you expect to need. Changes and new ones can be added later – but its best to plan ahead and create some first.
- You should also customise the furniture survey forms before doing the baseline survey. Setup the picklists and options, hide unneccessary fields, etc. The survey will run more smoothly. And the forms can be updated and tweaked later as required.
- Your staff (and volunteers) can use either the OTISS website and/or the Path Survey Android™ application to plot the positions of the infrastructure on the online maps.
- Similarly path issues can be recorded with descriptions, extent and photos.
- 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 infrastructure 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.
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 Path 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’.
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 standard Tree Work Schedule report containing all the tree works recommendations.
- Similarly a Furniture Recommendations report shows the maintainence work needed on the field assets, park furniture etc.
- Alternatively you can download the data into Excel to construct your own report.
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 the National Trail Quality Standard and your 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 volunteers 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.