Ancient tree verifiers: your top tips
I’ve spent the last few weeks meeting lots of verifiers in different parts of the UK. It’s been great fun meeting up with you and visiting some fantastic trees.
Along the way you’ve shared lots of your ideas and tips for recording and verifying trees. I promised I would share these with the verifying team and here they are; from technical apps to practical sticks.
When you’ve read through this post scroll to the bottom of the page and add a comment. This could be a hello to your fellow verifiers or maybe there’s a top tip I’ve missed.
Those awkward to measure trees
Some trees might be tough to get your tape measure around because of epicormic growth or bramble, so here are the best tips for getting your tape around those tricky trees.
- Carry a thumb stick, you can hook a tape measure over the end and push it through the brambles.
- Even better, carry a thumb stick which is 1.5m in height then you’ll know where to measure a maiden.
- If you’re measuring a beech with nowhere to hook your tape measure mark the tree with chalk or crayon to show where you started to measure and work your way around the tree.
- Another way to deal with beeches is to carry some blu-tac and stick the tape measure to the tree!
Finding grid references
Many verifiers mentioned the apps they like to use to find grid references. There’s plenty of choice, but here are the ones you like to use:
- Viewranger. Use this to add points of interest and note trees to be recorded onto the ATI. It’s available for both iOS and Android. https://www.viewranger.com/en-GB/get-the-app
- GPS OS grid reference. This provides grid references and I’m told it gives accurate results. I can only see that it’s on Apple though. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/gps-os-grid-reference/id993436655?mt=8
- OS locate. It provides a grid reference and a compass (if you need it). https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/os-locate
- GB Grid Ref Compass. As the name suggests it provides a GR and a compass. Available on android and iOS https://www.mike-irving.co.uk/portfolio/mobile-apps/gb-grid-ref-compass/
- AngleCam Lite. Add latitude, longitude to photographs and you can even add notes, good for jotting down the girth of a tree. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.derekr.AngleCam&hl=en_GB
It’s not an app but there are lots of you using the website https://www.gridreferencefinder.com/ This handy website converts postcodes or lat/long into grid references. It also works the other way around so if you’d like to change your preferences to another verifying location you can find a postcode on this site.
Who owns the land?
Another useful website is https://www.nimbusmaps.co.uk/ where you can find out who owns the land you may wish to record. You’ll need to register, but it’s free to use.
Refreshing and clearing cache
Many of you mentioned that the icons on the map aren’t updating as you record. Your browser will store images and icons on website to use again so a good way to ensure you’re seeing the most up to date information on the ATI map is by clearing your cache and refreshing.
You can find more information and instructions on this website: https://www.refreshyourcache.com/en/home/
How to recognize a notable tree
For those who came to a verifier day we had some interesting discussions about what to do with trees which don’t quite seem to be notable. One rule of thumb was to ask yourself “if the tree was to be cut down would you miss it?” If so it’s likely a notable.
If the tree on your verify list isn’t quite a notable it’s good practice to try to contact the recorder using the messaging system on the website. If you hear nothing back you can delete the record, the record will be retained in the data as a deleted record and we can resurrect it if needs be.
Thank you to everyone who made the verifier days such wonderful fun. It was great to meet so many of you and meet some brilliant trees too. If you didn’t make it this time there’ll be more opportunities in the future.
Pop a comment below and say hello to your fellow Ancient Tree Verifiers!