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Precision Forestry: GPS Tracking In Logging

Forestry is an industry that operates on precision. We help optimize forestry fleets with our unique GPS tracking solutions.

A Significant Economic Driver 

Forestry has been a key industry in North America ever since the first settlers landed on the east coast. In 2014 NA represented 28% of the global industrial production of “Roundwood”, which is the term for trees that have been cut down but have not yet been processed. As far as economic significance is concerned, the United States is the largest producer and consumer of lumber. However, the U.S. typically produce Roundwood, export it for processing, and then import the finished product to be used for construction. Meaning they break even in the forest product trade balance. Canada, on the other hand, has the largest forest product trade balance, totaling roughly $19 billion a year.

GPS Tracking

To gather these resources for export. The logging industry uses various pieces of heavy equipment, from Log Loaders to Harvesters, Processors, and everything in between. To optimize processes and ensure environmental sustainability, companies have been utilizing GPS tracking for over 25 years with a high degree of accuracy and resulting positive ROI. Global Positioning Systems in forest engineering help optimize machine productivity, monitor asset health, track forest position, vehicle travel patterns and the number of vehicle passes to avoid excessive soil compaction. Concerns arise however with the accuracy of GPS tracking under the canopy of a forest. Does a dense or heavy canopy influence accuracy of GPS tracking? The short answer is yes, but not to a significant degree this study found that the average position error under extra heavy canopy was around 4.31m, and under a variety of canopy conditions that average is reduced to 2.52m.

Cellular Data Transmission Problems

But collecting accurate positioning data is only half the story. The transmission of that data from device to manager is equally as important, or else the data just sits idly in the equipment or vehicle collecting virtual dust. Most GPS tracking companies provide devices that use a cellular network to transfer data. This works great when you’re operation is located in, or relatively close to, a city center or another high traffic area that has great coverage. But this is not the case in forestry and logging, as operations take place in remote and mountainous regions. The mix of limited cellular towers, mountain ranges interfering with signals, and dense forests blocking reception make the transmission of GPS data via cellular networks unreliable at best and impossible at worst.

Cellular/Satellite GPS Tracking

Titan GPS addressed this issue with the development of our Dual Mode GPS tracking and equipment tracking satellite devices. The Dual Mode is an excellent tracking solution for the forestry industry due to the utilization of the Iridium satellite constellation. Iridium has the largest commercial constellation with 66 cross-linked low Earth orbit satellites. When forestry equipment travels outside of the cellular network, the Titan GPS satellite tracking devices activate the Iridium satellite constellation and compensates for lack of cellular coverage, meaning that Forestry Engineers and Project Managers are able to accurately monitor vehicles and equipment, even in remote locations.

Titan GPS is dedicated to finding the perfect tracking solution for your needs, our Fleet Tracking Specialists work with you to tailor a solution to perform efficiently and optimally.

Visit our GPS Info Center to find out how you can improve your fleets safety, performance, and efficiency.

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