Central Bedfordshire Council's Parks and Countryside service have a number of volunteers who carry out tree condition surveys, recording their results in spreadsheets. In the office, the countryside wardens use the CAMS application to manage their day-to-day work and keep an inventory of their trees and the sites that they manage.
Exegesis were asked to develop a straightforward way for the office staff to import these spreadsheets into their CAMS. The spreadsheets contained detailed information that was used by the officers to inform tree management. The data collected in the survey spreadsheets could relate to new trees that were not previously in the system, or existing trees for which the information needed to be updated. The solution needed to create or update tree records in the database as appropriate, and also create spatial information for new trees, based on eastings and northings in the spreadsheet.
We developed an import routine for CAMS that read a user selected spreadsheet, matched the data to trees in the CAMS database, and updated data for existing trees or created new tree records if there wasn't a match. It was also able to make certain calculations from the data, such as working out when the next survey was due. Where new trees were recorded, map features were created automatically for these by the import routine.
Further information from Timothy Derbyshire.