Track Shape (Baseline) Survey
A good measure of a successful Track Shape Survey is a track budget plan based on a sound survey standard and constructed without anectdotal input .
Are you required to calculate annual and long-term budgets for cycling, walking and tramping tracks?
A Track Shape baseline survey will give you the foundation upon which track costs can be calculated.
It will also provide the foundations on which changes to track standards and classifications can be easily managed - over the long term.
What is Track Shape?
Track Shape is a track baseline survey guided by a survey standard.
The survey standard is guided by you, the Track Owner, and what criteria you may have for track class. These criteria provide the pick-lists for recording track shape and dimensions against which gaps in track class can be analysyed - in GIS or in spreadsheet form.
What is not Track Shape?
Track Shape is NOT a record of track condition but you can overlay Track shape with your track standards to see the gaps between your standards and what's on the ground.
Track Shape surveys are set up to the survey standards that will most effectively inform the long-term plans of the Track Owner.
Track Shape benefits.
The main benefit of a track baseline survey is that long-term track budget planning will remain comprehensive, transparent and justifiable - for the following reasons.
- Because Track Shape baseline survey is a 'one-off', geophysical record of a track, it will not need to be repeated unless the track is extensively rebuilt or heavily modified by natural causes. Updates can occur in 'office exercises'.
- The Track Shape survey is recorded in segments that are each identified by marked changes in track width, surface texture and-or gradient. Each segment becomes a 'management unit' in GIS - each with its own unique cost dynamics.
- Track Shape survey data can inform the Public via web-based maps of track characteristics.
- Potential hazards are identified and managed congruent with track user expectations.
- As parts of track segments change over time, through upgrade or damage, the changes can be GPS'd and noted in the field and the baseline record updated in the office.
- Track inspections can be driven by known changes or routine track inspection programmes.
- GIS software will query current track shapes and dimensions against predetermined track standards for each track class with either the current New Zealand track standard (SNZHB8630) or the Track Manager's own standards or track classification plans, simply by overlaying the Track Shape survey.
MY MOTIVES FOR TRACK SHAPE SURVEY
My background is 40 years in Central and Local Government park asset stewardship and my knowledge is in asset planning, surveying and monitoring. More specifically, I've been in involved with track management from a 'hands-on' park worker level to track budget planning as Senior Ranger (Works) for Tongariro National Park (1977 to 1981), followed by 26 years in a parks officer level for the Auckland Regional Council (to 2007). This latter period included budget management of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park's tracks.
I'm currently investigating the concept of a track baseline survey throughout New Zealand because I know it can provide Track Managers with budget plans that are transparent and justifiable.
It is already apparent that an effective Track Shape survey makes anecdotal information redundant in track budget planning.
A 'downstream' by-product of Track Shape is track information for track users that can be updated and so remain relative.
Track Managers New Zealand-wide should develop their own baseline surveys to match their own particular track environments. Many Track Managers already have sufficient GIS resources on hand to run their own track survey software.
How many Track Managers in New Zealand are interested in developing a track survey standard? I would like to assist and facilitate a forum for this.
The flow diagram above is the Track Shape concept - used in over 400 km of tracks in the Hunua and Waitakere Ranges Regional Parks for the Auckland Council.
For more information on the Track Shape concept based on surveys to date, click here to view the Track Shape page.
In addition to the development of the Track Shape concept, my business, Data Capture Basics Ltd also offers accurate data capture services; including park furniture and structures, bait trails and stations, roads and buildings, specimen trees and gardens.
Track and Road Use Monitoring
Track and road wear and tear can frequently be related to amounts of foot and vehicle traffic - as long as you know the numbers. Data Capture Basics can assist in setting up accurate monitoring of track and road use.
Click here to read more about track and road monitoring