FOPR 264 (4cr): Geomatics, Forest Access
 & Transportation

Course Description

Calendar Description: Geomatics, the physical attributes of forest access and transportation and how they best integrate with the objectives of resource sustainability. [4 Credits]

This course begins with a module of measurements as required for the management of natural resources.  It will provide basic knowledge and skills required for future courses.  The second module specifically expands and applies the first in planning, surveying, and developing access and transportation systems on a forest land base with multiple resources and objectives.

Lessons are combined with field exercises and assignments that will provide practical experience consistent with many entry-level work opportunities.

Student Description

This distance education course is designed to meet the needs of several groups:

  • Degree Students who, prior to entering the Faculty of Forestry at UBC, want to complete some of the required courses in the BSF program.  These individuals are generally entering from other programs, transferring from community colleges, or are students progressing from a technical program after having worked in a forest resource environment.
  • Professionals and technicians associated with or working directly in forest resource management who wish to advance their professional credentials while maintaining their employment.  Many of these people have related degrees or diplomas in biology, botany, or environmental sciences, but do not have all the course requirements to become a professional forester (RPF) or a professional forest engineer (P.Eng.).
  • Any individual interested in advancing their knowledge of this phase of the management of natural resources on forest lands.

Course Objectives

Along with developing an understanding of the scope of resources and activities in a managed forest, this course will prepare you at a professional level to:

  • Measure and collect data relative to forest resources
  • Plan access and development of specific resources while simultaneously meeting management objectives for other resources.
  • Understand environmental, economic, and safety issues associated with forest access.

Course Overview

The course is divided into two modules:

  1. Basic Geomatics and Measurements- Basics of Measurements
    – Horizontal & vertical surveying; navigation; ground profiling
    – Precision surveying; indirect measurements; electronic surveying
    – Mapping, area
  2. Forest access & transportation- Forest Operations
    – Collecting Information, reconnaissance, & control
    – Road surveying and data processing
    – Road standards
    – Water management
    – Construction, maintenance, decommissioning, costing


Dennis Bendickson

Please note that your Instructor no longer maintains an office at the UBC – Vancouver campus.  Please use the provided email address for your primary contact.  
Telephone or personal appointments can usually be arranged.


No text is required however…

It is highly recommended that you begin to assemble a personal library of Forest Practices Code Guidebooks.  Although these manuals are no longer part of legislated regulations, they are excellent procedural references.

See the attached “Reading List” for more details.  These books can be ordered, viewed as “html”, or downloaded (mostly in “pdf” format).

The text “Elementary Surveying: An Introduction to Geomatics” (11th Ed.), Wolf, Paul R. and Ghilani, Charles D.  Prentice Hall is valuable, especially to Forest Operations majors or anyone expecting to have responsibilities for this type of work in the future.  Older editions are acceptable.
See the attached “Course Readings and References” for publication details and web links.


Assignments 60%
Final Exam 40%

To pass this course you must:

  • Obtain a grade of at least 50% on the final exam
  • Participate in and submit acceptable reports for all assignments (assignments will be rejected and returned if the student fails to meet the assignment objective(s), fails to achieve a grade of 50%, or fails to illustrate an understanding of the topic)
  • Obtain a minimum cumulative weighted average grade of 50%

Field Exercises

Most of the assignments in this course involve the field application of the concept covered in the lessons. That means that you will have to get outside with the appropriate instruments and do it. While all of the assignments can be done alone (with a little ingenuity) it would usually be helpful to have a second person to provide some physical assistance. An assistant does not need any special training. You will just use them to help with measurements. You can make the assignments a family exercise, a test of friendship, or you may even be able to incorporate it into your job.

Final Exam

The Final Exam will be an invigilated, 3-hour session at a convenient location.