Forest monitoring and assessment
Open Foris software tools
The new Open Foris website is now online
Open Foris is an FAO-led initiative to develop, share and support specialized software tools required by countries and institutions to implement multi-purpose forest inventories. It is a set of free and open-source software tools that facilitates flexible and efficient data collection, analysis and reporting. These tools are used to support countries in gathering, producing and disseminating reliable information on the state of forest resources that is vital to decision makers and other stakeholders. Emphasis is placed on building sustainable capacity through the free sharing of all tools, documentation and source-code, thus promoting self-sufficiency, transparency and vendor independence. In addition, being open-source means Open Foris software’s inner workings are open to review by peers, promoting higher quality tools and encouraging and facilitating partner contributions.
The initiative was created under the FAO-Finland Forestry Programme in collaboration with FAO’s support to National Forest Monitoring and Assessment (NFMA) and the UN-REDD Programme to address the growing need for accurate and timely information on the state of forest resources and their use and users. Applying FAO’s broad experience in forest monitoring, Open Foris addresses cross-cutting needs through a set of highly flexible, easy-to-use software tools. Through FAO’s global network of partners and experts, tools are designed, tested, applied and improved to ensure they are relevant and provide real value to beneficiaries.
Open Foris tools are being built to support the entire inventory lifecycle, from needs assessment, design, planning, field data collection and management, estimation analysis, and dissemination. Remote sensing image processing tools are included, as well as tools for international reporting such as for REDD+ MRV and FAO FRA.
Not all stakeholders have the same needs and capacity. To address this, Open Foris is not designed as a single program or database, but rather as a set of software tools and standards which may be mixed and matched to best fit user needs. Where applicable, open standards are used, guaranteeing maximum interoperability with existing local, national and international systems and infrastructure. Application of standards also facilitates data portability, guaranteeing data is accessible independent of future technology decisions.
Collect Earth is a tool that enables data collection through Google Earth. In conjunction with Google Earth, Bing Maps and Google Earth Engine, users can analyze high and very high resolution satellite imagery for a wide variety of purposes, including:
Collect Mobile is a fast, intuitive and flexible data collection tool for field-based surveys. This Android app allows the completion of complex data structures, such as biophysical, socio-economic or biodiversity surveys. Its many features include: