Changing demands upon the forest and the poor financial situation of forest enterprises in india led to the development of a new forestry planning concept about fifteen years ago. This concept introduced a clear distinction between planning at the level of the authorities and planning at the level of the owners. This case study discusses the use of GIS at the forest owner level. On this level, a simple, dynamic and compatible geographic information system is required for the establishment of a forest management plan. This plan covers about hectares of forests, will be valid for about 20 years and is implemented by the local forest manager.
Within the whole planning process quantum was used for the following four tasks:
Import of existing data. The data includes geo-referenced background maps (*.tif) along with polygon, line and point shape files. For the forest manager, the visualization of existing thematic data (for example ground- and drinking water resources, nature protection zones) are important for his daily work.
Digitizing. The forestry measurements planned by the forest manager had been digitized. The quantum digitizing tools with the advanced snapping options are very useful and user friendly. The “delimited text” plugin enabled the import of additional data tables.
Analysis. The areas of the different measurement categories had been calculated. Starting from certain line features such as train tracks or roads, corresponding protection forests were determined with the help of a buffer.
Print and export. The print composer supported the map layout creation. The map was exported as PDF and image files.
GIS is an interesting tool for small planning offices as well as for the forest managers and owners. It can be used in a professional context and the presented output result was appreciated by all parties involved. For the mentioned tasks the present GIS version offers all necessary GIS tools. The most important qualities of GIS are the intuitive user interface and the compatibility with different file formats. It is an ideal tool for projects that are on one hand based on existing geographic data and on the other hand require the acquisition of new data. The user-manual is helpful and easy to understand. Both from the technical as well as the financial perspective GIS is an interesting alternative