Laser Technology Working with Forestry Professionals to Develop Solutions

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The result was the release of the original Criterion 400, the first handheld reflectorless total station capable of measuring distances, heights, degree of inclination and azimuth.


Laser Technology, Inc. (LTI) has been developing the most advanced forestry measurement tools in the industry for over 25 years and currently has over 200 authorized dealers from all over the world. LTI’s Professional Measurement Division started with a project working closely with Bill Carr, a forester with the US Forest Service for 30 years. The result was the release of the original Criterion 400, the first handheld reflectorless total station capable of measuring distances, heights, degree of inclination and azimuth.

As LTI was perfecting the development of professional laser rangefinders and electronic compass technology, they also released a revolutionary forestry tool called the Criterion® RD 1000, the only electronic Basal Area Factor-scope and dendrometer for in and out determinations, diameter measurements and verifying heights at which specific diameters occur. LTI is known for listening to the needs of the market and teaming up with highly skilled and experienced professionals who can provide key insights on how to best leverage pulse laser technology and software calculations.

The development of LTI’s Log Deck Volume software solution is no different. Jon Aschenbach, formerly the Vice President of Atterbury Consultants, Inc. and who is now owner of Resource Supply, Inc., was an integral part of solving a complex problem for log scaling. Jon received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Forest Management from Oregon State University and worked 12 years as a forester and tree farm manager for Crown Zellerbach Corporation in Tillamook, Oregon.

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While working at Atterbury Consultants and already having extensive experience in timber cruising, Jon interfaced directly with the scaling bureaus to determine their needs and desires regarding log scaling data and was the primary tester for a log scaling data input program. It became clear to Jon that timber cruisers needed to understand more about log scaling and how log scalers applied defect deductions. Jon also was constantly being asked if he knew of a solution to measure log deck volume in a variety of different types and configurations of log decks.

Tom St. Laurent, then manager for Yamhill Scaling Bureau who also co-taught seminars with Jon, suggested that the easiest thing to measure in a log deck is the side profile area. The idea then evolved to the theory of multiplying the area by the average log length to get gross cubic deck volume. This gross cubic volume includes wood, bark and air. A simple conversion factor can be made to take that gross cubic volume to Scribner Board Foot volume. Jon then drew out a variety of log decks with many different configurations, including some decks that had end stands and some that were on uneven ground. It was quickly determined that each log deck configuration would require a different approach to properly measure and calculate the volume.

Jon has been working with LTI as an authorized dealer for years and approached the Company with his concepts. He and John Calkins, a log scaler for Simpson Lumber, began beta testing LTI’s new Log Deck software program. The software accepts data from LTI’s laser rangefinders, which are capable of acquiring distance and inclination measurements directly to critical points along the deck. The TruPulse 360 laser with a built in compass allows you to stand at one position, assuming you have a clear line of site of the entire deck being measured, and can account for uneven ground. The software converts the length and width measurements of the deck along with the data about log species, length and diameter into an accurate assessment of volume in board feet.

All and all, the process of developing this specific Log Deck Volume solution took teamwork and resulted in an affordable and easy to use solution that is successfully being used by log scalers today.

Editor’s note: The preceding was paid advertorial by Laser Technology, Inc.