Determining an optimum inventory route for an areal object: the case of forest inventory in Finland

  • Henna Maria Etula Finnish Forest Centre
  • Harri Antikainen University of Oulu
Keywords: Finland, inventory of forest resources, Areal Inventory Problem, route optimization, location allocation, maximum coverage


In recent decades, routing based on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has become a major branch of technology, which has been used especially in applications related to transport and logistics. However, in terms of the development of methods, routing in a cross-country environment is more difficult, and hence research into it has been relatively scarce. This is particularly true in the context of complex routing problems involving visits to several locations. A typical example of a problem of this kind is field inventory, which is a data collection procedure used in many application areas, particularly those related to environmental research and the management of natural resources. This study presents a problem in which an efficient inventory route is determined for an areal object, such that the area visible from the route meets a prescribed threshold, while maintaining the shortest possible route. Although this problem, referred to here as the Areal Inventory Problem (AIP), is closely related to a multitude of routing and location allocation methods known in the context of GIS, none of them is very well-suited for solving the AIP. This study describes a general solution procedure for the AIP, and introduces an implementation of a heuristic algorithm that can be used to solve a real-world AIP within a reasonable time frame. The proposed approach is demonstrated with actual data related to field inventory practices carried out by the Finnish Forest Centre.

Research Papers
Apr 4, 2014
How to Cite
Etula, H. M., & Antikainen, H. (2014). Determining an optimum inventory route for an areal object: the case of forest inventory in Finland. Fennia - International Journal of Geography, 192(1), 23–35. Retrieved from