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GPS mapping the orchard

Posted by Brent Klassen 
GPS mapping the orchard
June 24, 2020 04:10PM
Hi folks -

My orchard is a little more "random" than some, with trees being planted in different configurations on the farm. While this achieves some aesthetic and diversity objectives, it does make it harder to remember exactly what is where. So I'm looking for a geo-tagging app that would allow me to plot the locations of the trees, and then support a log of photographic and textual observations over time.

Does such a thing exist? I realize that consumer-grade GPS is not that precise, but having gone geocaching a few times, I figured it might be close enough. Does anyone have any recommendations?



Brent Klassen
Heartwood Farm & Cidery
Guelph, Ontario
Re: GPS mapping the orchard
June 24, 2020 04:29PM
Re: GPS mapping the orchard
June 24, 2020 06:46PM
Thanks a lot Mike. Great recommendation - I've downloaded the app an am playing around with it. It looks great. One question: I understand how to build the forms in the web app and add a geotag to the observation. Question is: Is there any way to "group" observations around a particular data point, i.e. geolocation? It would be nice to sort all of the observations over time around a particular tree, or in this case, around a particular geolocation. Do you know how to do that?
Re: GPS mapping the orchard
June 24, 2020 08:07PM
I'm sorry but I haven't worked with it enough to know all the ins and outs, so I am not going to be any help with your question.

Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Re: GPS mapping the orchard
June 27, 2020 06:17PM
I use Epicollect, but mostly just for picking GPS coordinates on site.
Once I am in front of my computer, I will download the points on a spreadsheet, make some averages, and calculate the distance of each tree (or other feature/building) from my reference point which is one of the corners of the orchard.

From there I plot the points on AutoCAD to get the drawing of the orchard. The difference in latitude gives the distance in the north-south direction, while the difference in longitude gives the distance in the east-west direction. There are online calculators that will give you those distances from 2 GPS coordinate points (but for my part I calculate them myself in the spreadsheet).
The use of AutoCAD for this is surely overkill, but I have it and I am used to it, so it is the easiest for me. Any other simple vectorial drawing program should do the job just as well.

One thing you need to know, GPS coordinates can be quite off, like easily 10 to 15 meters imprecision (unless you have professional equipment). The way to improve on this is to take many records on the same point and make the average. When I have something like 10 records for a point, the precision is greatly increased. Note that these records need to be taken not just one after the other because in that case you are always on the same satellite which is at the same location. The recordings should be taken over a period of many hours/days, so that each record is independant from the others.

Jolicoeur Orchard
Zone 4 in Quebec
(Author, The New Cider Maker's Handbook)
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