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GPS after Selective Availability: How Accurate Is Accurate Enough?

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Global positioning systems (GPS) without differential correction may now be accurate enough for many forestry applications. We present accuracy estimates for point locations and a method of stating area accuracy so that potential GPS users can decide whether the accuracy is sufficient. The results show that GPS without differential correction is more accurate than traditional methods of location and area calculation, short of actual surveying. Compass-and-pace is less accurate than GPS, and lines and points at customary map scales are as wide as typical GPS errors. If differential correction is not necessary, practitioners can use the inexpensive, light, and easily operated consumer-grade receivers and simple software.

Keywords: environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; geospatial technologies; inventory; mapping; natural resource management; natural resources

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Professor Forestry Department, College of Natural Resources, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 313 Cheatham Hall, Mail Code 0324 Blacksburg, VA, 24061, oderwald@vt.edu 2: President Foresters Incorporated, Blacksburg, Virginia,

Publication date: June 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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