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  • Writer's pictureAlessandro Ugolini

How We Developed the New Digital Caliper for Forestry Stations

Updated: May 13

For years, I have been involved in the planning and development of measuring instruments for forestry. The idea to develop a new digital caliper arose from the need to replace an older model that had several shortcomings
Il nuovo cavalletto dendrometrico elettronico per le martellate forestali

How the digital caliper for logging operations came about

Through the feedback gathered during the use of these tools, I was able to identify the key objectives for the design of the new model. Just before starting this project, I had presented the first prototype of an electronic caliper at a meeting concerning the measurement methodologies adopted by the Magnifica Comunità di Fiemme.

Development of the New Digital Caliper
Development of the New Digital Caliper

Objectives of the New Digital Caliper for Forestry

The new electronic caliper was designed to overcome the limitations of previous models. Among the objectives, I aimed to:

  • Provide a tool that could easily measure prepared logs and cube standing trees,

  • Ensure flexible software with extensive customization options for the user,

  • Offer features to monitor the cubic volume of trees and their placement in real-time,

  • Integrate multiple calipers operating simultaneously for more effective data management,

  • Simplify usage by reducing the weight and bulkiness of the caliper."

The First Prototype of the Electronic Caliper

The development process began with the hardware, based on the first prototype of 'Il Cubatore.' The new instrumentation was enhanced with modern sensors, including a laser rangefinder and a clinometer, as well as Bluetooth connectivity, a display, and a dedicated battery.

Screenshots of the Digital Caliper App for Measuring Stacked Wood
Screenshots of the Digital Caliper App for Measuring Stacked Wood

Advantages and Challenges of the New Digital Forestry Caliper

The classic logging operation in the forest is traditionally managed by a team of at least three people: the new device allows a single operator to perform all functions. This significantly reduces the manpower required, with one operator now able to mark the trees, measure them, and record the data, all with a single tool, eliminating the need for additional personnel for marking and manual data recording.

  • The use of mobile devices for processing and storing data provides greater flexibility and constant software updates. This allows the operator to stay up-to-date with the latest features and improvements of the system.

  • The ability to operate independently of cellular coverage is essential in remote environments like forests, ensuring that work can proceed without interruptions related to signal availability.

Screenshots of Real-Time Logging Data Collected by the Digital Caliper
Screenshots of Real-Time Logging Data Collected by the Digital Caliper

The development of this new New Digital Caliper represents a significant step forward in my career and in the field of forest technology. The adoption of these tools not only improves data collection but also facilitates information sharing, improving land management and knowledge.


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