Canadian Forest Service Publications

Precision Technologies: Data Availability Past and Future. Keynote Presentation. 2003. Schmoldt, D.L.; Thomson, A.J. Pages 9-15 in Proceedings of the Second Annual International Precision Forestry Symposium, June 15-17, 2003, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. College of Forest Resources, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Year: 2003

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 23821

Language: English

CFS Availability: Not available through the CFS (click for more information).

Mark record


Current precision and information technologies portend a future filled with improved capabilities to manage natural resources with greater skill and understanding. Whereas practitioners have historically been data limited in their management activities, they now have increasing amounts of data and concomitant sophistication in data management, analysis, and decision tools. Expanding precision forestry technologies beyond traditional reliance on optics-based tools offers new opportunities for forest resource interrogation. However, as data become more immediate and information rich, traditional views of data availability may lose some relevance. Technical constraints are becoming less daunting and social and ethical responsibility and sensitivity are gaining prominence. Because data that might be deemed private or protected can be readily moved and combined with other data, new concerns arise about who uses those data and how they use them. Capabilities built into newer analysis and decision support tools add further apprehension about privacy, accuracy, and accessibility. It does not require an extraordinary string of suppositions to imagine when regulation and legal decisions will promulgate certain safeguards for data management and for software that handles data. Such restrictions could likely limit data availability in currently unforeseen ways-counteracting, to some extent, technology-based advances in data availability. Still, irrespective of those possibilities, there are actions that natural resource professionals can take to lessen potential future restrictions on data availability. These include defining an "information space" for each precision technology, understanding language and knowledge flows, and planning for integrated systems and processes that holistically address information needs and uses.