The Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority has transformed the way that staff and volunteers record data outdoors, using a suite of mobile GIS apps. The authority can now monitor its conservation activities more successfully and make faster interventions to enhance one of the most environmentally significant and scenic regions of Scotland.
Covering an area of 720 square miles, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park comprises 21 Munros, 22 large lochs, two forest parks and one of the UK’s largest National Nature Reserves. To help it conserve these outstanding natural environments, the authority uses Esri’s ArcGIS Online platform and mobile apps to record more accurate and detailed information on everything from the locations of rare orchids to the conditions of footpaths.
This use of mobile GIS is allowing the authority to more precisely plan and monitor the success of conservation schemes to preserve the native flora and fauna of the region. For instance, members of staff use a custom-built app to monitor invasive non-native plant species by walking around the footprint of the plant stands and recording their exact location directly onto digital maps. The authority can then accurately measure the effectiveness of treatment by monitoring changes in the sizes and density of these areas over time.
Information captured in the field, including locations, notes and photographs, is now available to staff within hours, whereas previously it may have taken up to four weeks to process it first. Consequently, the authority can make more rapid decisions about any interventions that might be necessary to protect and maintain the park, as it has fast access to digital maps depicting critical issues such as damage to bridges on footpaths. The authority also plans to put new processes in place that will enable staff to respond promptly to urgent repair requests, and simultaneously address other less-pressing maintenance tasks in the same vicinity, to maintain high standards across the park, as cost efficiently as possible.