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The Woodland Trust deploys its next generation corporate GIS from Cadcorp


The system will play a key part in helping the trust to manage its existing woodland sites and in supporting its role as the leading advocate for British woods and trees. It replaces a bespoke system which has been in use for the last ten years. 

GIS Manager, Ian White said “Spatial information is central to the key aims of the Woodland Trust. These are: to create more native woods and trees; to protect the ones we have; and to inspire everyone to enjoy and value them.”

“We were formed from very small beginnings some forty years ago. Yet we now look after more than 1,000 woodland sites throughout the UK, covering approximately 240 square kilometres. Nearly 350 of our sites contain ancient woodland, of which 70 per cent is semi-natural ancient woodland – land which has been under tree cover since at least 1600. We also manage over 110 Sites of Special Scientific Interest. We have planted over 16 million trees, 3.2 million of them by children, and become the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity. It would be inconceivable for us to operate without the support of GIS today.“

Woodland possibly affected by proposed HS2 route

In 2012, the trust recognised that its very success was placing new demands on its information processing capabilities: demands which couldn’t be met by its existing GIS.

“Our existing GIS was originally developed in-house as a bespoke application in 2003”, continued Ian. “By 2012 its limitations had become apparent.  We wanted to give many users the ability to annotate maps and edit data. However, the application was read-only and there was no support for new on-line data sources such as Web Mapping Services (WMS). The bottom line was we had to decide whether to invest in enhancing the existing system, or migrate to a new platform. We decided on replacement rather than enhancement.“

“We set about looking for a system that was quick and responsive, that could be customised to meet the needs of a wide range of Trust teams, and which we could use at scales ranging from individual woodlands, through to UK-wide.  The system also had to capable of dealing with a wide range of datasets and data sources.”

Following a competitive tender, the Woodland Trust selected Cadcorp to provide the replacement. “Cadcorp technology met our functional specifications”, continued Ian. “We were also impressed by its level of interoperability. It allowed us to work with our existing system and data in parallel, for all long as we wished. It also gave us direct support for OS MasterMap® Topography Layer – which is very import to us – without having to buy additional data loaders.”

The new GIS has quickly shown its worth as an investigative tool. For example, the trust has used the system to help identify woodland affected by the proposed route of the HS2 high speed rail line.  The Cadcorp GIS is being used to superimpose the route against Ordnance Survey maps and georectified aerial photography. The trust has so far identified sixty seven ancient woods within 200m of the track, thirty three of which are within 25 metres.

Mike O’Neil, CEO of Cadcorp said: “It is inspiring that the concerns of a retired Devon farmer about the loss of native woodlands some forty years ago should lead to the creation of the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity. Cadcorp is proud that the Woodland Trust has chosen Cadcorp technology to help it continue with its work.”

About the Woodland Trust
The Woodland Trust is the UK’s leading charity championing native woods and trees. It has 500,000 members and supporters. The trust has three key aims: to enable the creation of more native woods and places rich in trees; to protect native woods, trees and their wildlife for the future; and  to inspire everyone to enjoy and value woods and trees.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 24,000 hectares (60,000 acres). Access to its sites is free.

To find out more please visit

Cadcorp is a British software development company focused on geographic information system (GIS) and web mapping software. It offers a complete suite of products – the Cadcorp Spatial Information System® (Cadcorp SIS®) – addressing all phases of spatial information management.  Cadcorp SIS is available worldwide through a network of Cadcorp partners and through a direct sales team in the UK and Ireland. For more information visit

Richard Spooner, Marketing Manager, Cadcorp, +44 1438 747996

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