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   Program Areas
     Aviation Safety and Aerial Survey
     Biological Control
     Equipment and Application Technologies
     GIS & Spatial Analysis
     Digital Aerial Sketchmapping
     ADS Standards & Guidelines
     Insect & Disease Detection Survey Maps
     National Insect & Disease Risk Maps
     SPB Hazard Maps
     Information Systems
     Insect & Pathogen Models
     Invasive Species Risk Assessment
     Management of Pesticides
     Nontarget Impacts
     Quantitative Analysis
     Remote Sensing and Image Analysis
Fact Sheets
 FHTET Program Areas
GIS & Spatial Analysis
Aerial Detection Surveys (ADS)
Data Development
Risk Mapping
Application Development
Risk Map Portal
Digital Arial Sketchmapping
Risk Map Poster

The GIS and Spatial Analysis program's core mission is to support Forest Health Protection (FHP) field units and the Washington Office in the use and application of geographic information systems (GIS) and other spatial analysis technologies for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and disseminating spatial information related to the health of the nation's forests. The program supports and maintains national spatial databases for annual insect and disease aerial detection surveys and risk maps related to forest health all of which provide data for upward reporting of forest health conditions to our cooperators and stakeholders. FHTET maintains a GIS laboratory that provides training and technical assistance to field personnel, develops new technology and applications for the collection and dissemination of spatial data, and produces spatial data products.

The GIS and Spatial Analysis program provides leadership in the development and implementation of spatial data standards for Forest Health Protection. This is accomplished by working with FHP Regions/Area and Field Office personnel, and through participation on the Geospatial Advisory Committee (GAC), to ensure that forest health data is compatible with national standards and is available for upward reporting to regional and national levels. In addition, FHTET acts as the Deputy Area Data Administrator for State and Private Forestry.

GIS services are provided by the GIS and Spatial Analysis program to personnel such as entomologists, pathologists, and aerial surveyors. Personnel accessing these services reside in the USDA Forest Service, other Federal agencies, and the State and private sector. Services are generally provided on a time-available, cost-reimbursable basis to units outside the Forest Service.
Aerial Detection Surveys (ADS)

In collaboration with the FHTET Information Systems program and the USDA Forest Service Remote Sensing Applications Center (RSAC) activities related to aerial detection surveys are coordinated. Conducting such surveys is an efficient method of collecting and reporting data on forest insects, disease, and other disturbances. Aerial sketch mapping is the primary data collection method, although data may also be collected by ground crews and other means. Data are generally collected by aerial observers from the Forest Service and other cooperating State and Federal agencies. Areas of damage are captured as polygons using hardcopy 1:100,000 scale maps or a Digital Aerial Sketchmapping System (D-ASM). The D-ASM uses a moving map display software (GeoLink), GPS, and touch screen technology to create a digital version of the data on-the-fly in the aircraft. Regardless of the method, it is important to note that sketchmapping is a valuable but subjective endeavor with inherent spatial and attribute inaccuracies.

Data collected during aerial surveys is standardized and assembled into a national spatial database that is housed at FHTET.  These data and other resources may be accessed here:

Data Development

In addition to maintaining a national ADS spatial database, the GIS and Spatial Analysis program frequently develops or sponsors the construction of datasets that aid FHP Regions and Field Office personnel in conducting assessments of forest health.  Examples of these data include the production of GIS layers depicting forest attributes, such as basal area (BA) (done in collaboration with FHTET’s Remote Sensing and Image Analysis program), and the development of a national soil drainage index for determining the relative amount of water available to plants. Some of these data may be accessed here:

Risk Mapping

The GIS and Spatial Analysis program at FHTET provides support for both tactical and strategic forest health risk assessments. In addition, this program coordinates, in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service Forest Health Monitoring program (FHM), the development of a National Insect and Disease Risk Map (NIDRM) and database.

The primary goal of NIDRM is to provide Congress, USDA officials, and federal and state land managers with a periodic strategic assessment of risk of tree mortality due to major insects and diseases. NIDRM is more than “just a map”, it represents a compendium of about 190 individual risk models, all constructed within a common GIS-based multi-criteria framework that can account for regional variations in forest health concerns.

The multi-criteria framework, used by FHTET for the development of NIDRM and other risk assessments, provides a consistent, repeatable, transparent process.  This process enables interactive spatial and temporal risk assessments to be conducted at various levels to aid in decision making thus enhancing the utilization and maintenance of forest health risk maps within and outside the National Forest System.

In addition to NIDRM FHTET is currently engaged in several risk mapping efforts ranging in scope from the local to global level:

Information about NIDRM and other risk mapping efforts may be obtained here:

Application Development

With the growing need to conduct complex spatial analysis and manage large datasets, the GIS and Spatial Analysis program has begun to develop applications to aid in data management and analysis. Examples of applications developed by FHTET include:

  • Digital Aerial Sketchmapping System: Customized version of GeoLink software that enables the collection of data during aerial detection surveys.
  • GeoLink is developed by the Michael Baker Corporation.
  • Aerial Detection Tools
  • Risk Map Tools
Websites of Interest
Program Manager

Frank Krist

USDA Forest Service - FHTET
2150 Centre Ave., Bldg. A, Suite 331
Fort Collins, CO 80526-1891
Phone: (970) 295-5844
Fax: (970) 295-5815
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