||UTOOLS - Landscape Analysis Software
|A product of the USDA Forest Service,
Umatilla National Forest and the Pacific Northwest Research Station
The entire UTOOLS package consists of three files:
UTOOLS1.EXE, UTOOLS2.EXE, and
UTOOLS3.EXE. Download all three files and
put them in the same directory. Run each executable file to extract the program
files into the directory. After extracting all three files, you can delete the
original files (UTOOLS1.EXE, UTOOLS2.EXE, and UTOOLS3.EXE).
The distibution contains a detailed manual UMANUAL.DOC) describing the use of UTOOLS,
example data, and a tutorial exercise designed to demonstrate many of the
features of UTOOLS.
The complete text of a paper describing UTOOLS and UVIEW presented at
the Sixth Biennial Forest Service Remote Sensing Conference, Denver, CO
April 29 - May 3, 1996 is available here.
UTOOLS is geographic analysis software developed for watershed-level planning.
The system provides a flexible framework for spatial analyses and can be
used to address a variety of problems. The difference between UTOOLS and
other spatial analysis software packages is that in UTOOLS all spatial
data for a given project is integrated into a single Paradox databases,
where basic data operations can be quickly and easily performed. For instance,
complex overlay operations that involve combinations of map layers and
attributes can be done (and re-done) with simple Paradox queries. Generating
new layers from combinations of existing ones is also easy.
The Paradox "spatial databases" are built with several UTOOLS programs
Once built, these databases serve as the information base for a given project
and can be used in many kinds of analyses with Paradox, UTOOLS programs,
and other commercial/public domain programs. They can be envisioned as
a snapshot of a larger database maintained in a GIS representing all available
data for a given project area. Some specific kinds of analyses that can
be completed include:
Project data are assembled and downloaded to a PC. This involves the following
Exporting map layers from the local GIS
Exporting attribute data from Oracle or elsewhere
Obtaining raw USGS digital elevation data (available on all forests).
The GIS map layers are gridded and converted to a Paradox "spatial database"
with the program UCELL5. Spatial databases contain a record for each pixel
or grid cell on the ground, and a field for each map layer. The pixel cell
size can be varied according to the needs of the user.
Attribute data that describe GIS polygons (e.g. canopy closure, species,
stand structure etc) are imported to Paradox and added to the spatial database
using a Paradox relational query.
Elevation data are added to the spatial database by processing the USGS
digital elevation data with the programs IMPRTDEM and ADDELEV.
A "terrain model", which is required by UVIEW for 3D viewing is also built
by running the program EXTELEV.
"Derived" map layers are added to the spatial database, like slope, aspect,
stream buffers using UCELL5.
Landsat data are added with the ADDERDAS utility
GIS layers and attribute data can be examined using standard Paradox queries.
This includes overlaying and combining layers based on polygon/line subjects
and/or attributes, etc.
Data in the database and polygon maps can be visualized with UMAP or UVIEW.
UVIEW has the capability for mapping both database and polygon/line data
and also creates realistic 3D landscape images with vegetation. These map
images can be saved to PCX files and output to an printer or inkjet plotter
using any windows graphics programs.
Data in the database can be exported with UCELL5 to other programs, like
HEICALC, HEIWEST, DISPLAY, and FRAGSTATS. The former two programs calculate
the elk habitat effectiveness index, while the latter two calculate indices
of landscape structure (e.g. dominance, contagion, diversity, path size).
Data in Paradox spatial databases can also converted back into vector format
with the MAP2MOS program. Data are first exported to an ascii file with
a procedure in the UCELL5 program.
Selected Analysis Capabilities
Spatial databases created by UTOOLS can serve multiple analysis functions.
Some example functions include:
All of these analysis avenues require the ability to geographically identify
and display lands as part of the analysis process. These functions are
made possible by a combination of the query language in Paradox, and the
mapping capabilities in UVIEW and UMAP.
producing basic acreage summaries
identifying areas that are of critical interest within the project area
simulating the effects of management alternatives
providing functions to help organize and reformat data for export to specialized
programs to perform complex spatial analyses.
Basic Paradox Queries on Spatial Databases
The Paradox query commands can be used to quickly answer a wide variety
of spatial questions using a spatial database. One of the most basic and
useful queries on a spatial database is one that overlays GIS layers to
obtain acreage reports. Acreage reports are created by first adding an
ACRES field to the database using MODIFY RESTRUCTURE, and then filling
it with a value equal to the pixel size in acres with a CHANGETO query.
To overlay map layers and obtain acreage reports place a CHECK in the fields
[map layers] of interest, and enter CALC SUM in the ACRES field. The query
can be further qualified using the BLANK operator. For instance, to exclude
all area outside of old growth stands, add NOT BLANK in the old growth
field. Additional queries are demonstrated in the tutorial included with
Simulating Effects of Project Alternatives
Paradox queries can be used to examine the effects of alternatives on other
resources. For instance, suppose it is desired to analyse and map the effects
of harvest treatments on elk habitat. A spatial database is created that
includes fields for proposed treatment areas for each alternative, and
a field containing cover values for the existing [pre treatment] condition.
The fields for the proposed alternatives are created by rastering individual
map layers with treatment areas represented as polygons. Using MODIFY-RESTRUCTURE
command in Paradox, fields are added for predicted cover data for each
alternative. These fields are then filled with the cover data for the existing
condition using a CHANGETO command in a query. A query is then run that
checks the prescriptions for each alternative and changes the cover based
on the prescription. Here, a cover reduction of 100% might be assumed for
group selection prescriptions, while a reduction of 20% might be assumed
for an overstory removal prescription. Once the cover data is calculated
for each alternative, these data can be used to generate fields containing
elk habitat cover values, which are in turn exported to input files for
the elk habitat software [HEICALC, HEIWEST].
The predicted canopy data for each alternative can also be used in UVIEW
to create landscape images that depict changes to the landscape from each
proposed treatment. Treatment units will appear in the UVIEW landscape
scene if UVIEW is told to use cover data created above for each alternative.
A variety of other "simulations" can be performed using similar methods.
For instance, the effects of treatments on late/old landscape structure
can be examined using the DISPLAY or FRAGSTATS program. Fire and other
catastrophic effects can also be simulated and visualized by applying various
rule-based queries in Paradox that modify vegetation structure in the spatial
database. These can be visualized with UVIEW by creating vegetation structure
databases that essentially tell UVIEW to draw snags or "sick" trees where
particular disturbances are present.
UVIEW Visualization Tool
UVIEW is a public domain software package developed by Robert J. McGaughey
of the U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station as part
of UTOOLS. UVIEW is a display system designed to produce two- and three-dimensional
images of digital terrain models (DTM), attribute data stored in PARADOX
spatial databases, and vegetation patterns at landscape scales. UVIEW combines
the capabilities of a relational database with a simple terrain viewing
system to provide a flexible analysis and display tool. Images produced
by UVIEW provide a readily understood visualization depicting existing
or desired landscape conditions.
UVIEW provides a flexible system for viewing a digital terrain model
(an organized data set describing the ground surface consisting of a regularly
spaced grid of elevations). Four parameters control the appearance of perspective
UVIEW allows users to specify exact coordinates for the head and focus
locations or interactively select a head and focus location (14k
GIF) while viewing a simple perspective representation of the DTM.
UVIEW allows camera lenses with focal lengths ranging from 15mm to 400mm
and vertical exaggeration values ranging from 0.1 to 4.0. Users can also
"fly" over and around a low resolution image of a DTM using a mouse controlled
head or eye location
focus or target location
camera lens focal length
UVIEW renders a DTM using a variety of methods and resolutions:
Users typically use the wire frame representations, profiles and grid,
for positioning and exploration of the terrain surface. They use the solid
surface representations to display attribute data from the PARADOX spatial
database and simulated vegetation. Computer systems equipped with a VESA
compatible graphics adapter capable of displaying 256 colors in at least
640 by 480 pixel resolution can display lighted, solid surface representations.
UVIEW identifies and eliminates hidden surfaces in solid surface representations
by sorting and drawing DTM cells starting with the cells farthest from
the head location.
coarse and fine resolution profiles (28k GIF)
coarse and fine resolution grid (30k
solid surface representations with hidden surface removal (28k
lighted, shaded solid surface representations with hidden surface removal
UVIEW supports interactive query development to specify combinations
of database attributes for display on solid surface representations. The
query system (14k GIF)
supports a variety of query operators including string pattern matching,
numeric comparisons, and boolean operators. Twelve colors are available
to differentiate between queries. UVIEW uses solid colors in 16-color graphics
modes and gradients from dark to light in 256-color graphics modes. The
actual color used to display a cell matching a query is selected based
on the amount of light from the simulated light source striking the cell.
UVIEW can display query results in both perspective (34k
JPEG) and plan views.
UVIEW can display a plan view (22k
GIF) of the DTM, represented as contour lines, along with attribute
data from PARADOX databases. UVIEW generates contour lines from the DTM
using a user specified contour interval. Database attributes are displayed
using the query system described above. UVIEW can display polygon and vector
data files on plan view displays.
UVIEW supports a script language to facilitate generating sequences
of images. Sequences can represent a landscape from different viewpoints
or changing landscape conditions from a single viewpoint. UVIEW includes
a simple utility, VIEWPCX, to display sequences of PCX images at a rate
of about 1 frame per second. Commercial or shareware utilities are available
to combine the image files, stored in PCX or TARGA formats, to provide
high-speed animation capabilities. UVIEW scripts can also generate images
with no user interaction providing a simple method of reproduce a standard
set of images depicting alternative management scenarios.
UVIEW models vegetation patterns (72k
GIF) to simulate existing or desired landscape conditions. The primary
goal in the vegetation modeling is to simulate overall landscape texture
and pattern rather than specific, detailed vegetation structure. UVIEW
uses two methods to model vegetation patterns. The first method uses estimates
of canopy closure contained in the PARADOX spatial database to generate
tree cover for each pixel. The second method relies on vegetation codes
contained in the PARADOX spatial database and a second database containing
structure definitions for each possible vegetation code. Canopy closure
based vegetation modeling represents vegetation patterns over an entire
landscape. The canopy closure method represents differences in stand densities
well but does not represent differences in stand composition and structure.
UVIEW represents all values of canopy closure using the same type and size
of plant; only the density of plants varies. Vegetation modeling based
on structure definitions represents both stand density and stand composition.
Stand structure definitions consist of layer descriptions with each layer
in a vegetation type described by the type of plant, plant stem diameter,
plant height, plant crown diameter, plant live crown ratio, a factor describing
the variability of the size parameters, and the number of plants per unit
area (normally acres or hectares). UVIEW represents a variety of plant
types ranging from grass to mature, healthy conifer and hardwood trees.
Vegetation structure descriptions can consist of up to 36 layers. Practical
descriptions contain 2 to 3 layers.
Hardware and Software Requirements
The UTOOLS programs can be run with the example data on any IBM compatible
computer equipped with a EGA/VGA monitor, 2 Mb RAM, DOS 3.0 or later, and
10-20 MB of free hard drive space. At least 560 kb of conventional memory
must be available. Larger configurations are necessary for efficient operational
use, due to the size of spatial databases and the requirements of Paradox
to process them. We typically use a 486/33 with 200 mb of available hard
drive for 30,000 - 50,000 acre projects. A backup storage device such as
an IOMEGA Bernoulli drive is also useful for sharing databases among machines.
A mouse is useful for UVIEW and, to a lesser extent, UMAP.
Paradox is not required to run the UTOOLS programs. However, without
Paradox it is not possible to perform many basic operations on the spatial
databases created by the UTOOLS programs. UTOOLS programs are compatible
with all Paradox 4.0 and 4.5 for DOS, and all Paradox for Windows. UTOOLS
programs will generally run from within a DOS window in WINDOWS. One exception
to this is UVIEW running in 256 color SVGA mode.
UTOOLS requires polygon and line data in the MOSS export (ASCII) format.
Data must use the UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) coordinate system.
A version of UTOOLS that operates with the state plane coordinate system
is being tested. The MOSS export format can be generated from vector maps
stored in MOSS using the MOSS command: EXPORT or the ARC-INFO command:
ARCMOSS. Polygon and line data can be intersected with project boundaries
prior to processing with the UCELL5 program to isolate the area of interest
from larger map layers (e.g. forest-wide, or merged quads encompassing
the project area). This step can be accomplished with the OVERLAY program.
This step is not always necessary since pixels outside of a project can
be deleted with a Paradox query after the database is built. There also
is an option within the UCELL5 program to use a polygon or line layer as
a database template. With this option, only pixels with a user-specified
distance of the template layer are retained in the project. For most projects,
one of the above two methods (intersect before UCELL, or use the UCELL
template feature) should be used to avoid creating large databases covering
areas that are not of interest.