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When George Vanderbilt hired Gifford Pinchot in the late 1800’s to manage the Biltmore Forest, America had its first professionally managed forest.  Pinchot was a European educated forester as there were no forestry schools in the US.  Carl Schenck was a German forester also employed at the Biltmore and was credited with the design of the Biltmore stick; a tool that is in some cases still used today.  These early pioneers had a vision that our forests could be managed for the betterment of landowners and society in general.

In the beginnings of time for Landmark Forestry (1992), the Biltmore stick was still being used. Large forest inventories in those days meant taping topographic maps together and using a steel straight edge to establish grids.  That worked well unless a last-minute directive was received changing the inventory requirements.  That could create a scramble in those days.

It has always been founder Mike McWhorter’s policy to stay on the leading edge of technology.  This thirst for bringing technology to the forestry profession helps us understand the drive in our predecessors Pinchot and Schenck.  

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Cruise Control began as a concept in the late 1990’s as technology became increasingly present in the general public.  At that time, Landmark Forestry founder, Mike McWhorter, was searching for a better way to collect and compile valuable forest data that would address the issues of inherent human error and increasing efficiency.   The traditional method of paper tally was prone to users omitting necessary data, failing to adhere to cruise specifications, and entry errors.  This method also required an additional step of transcribing data from paper into a computer, after data collection occurred, which was also an error-prone and a time consuming bottle-neck.  In addition to these issues of data accuracy and comprehensiveness, there was an awareness that the advent of GPS and digital mapping could provide a better means of creating and managing mapping data, as well as navigating in the field.

As the owner of a full-service forestry consulting business, Landmark Forestry, Mike had the perfect combination of need and opportunity to begin working with a staff developer to create a software package that could meet the specific needs of procurement, consulting, and managing foresters.  At its core, Cruise Control was built to meet the unique needs of Landmark Forestry, but what was soon discovered was that the industry as a whole was searching for a better solution to these same challenges.  Not long after its initial use began, others within the industry started to notice and inquire about what Landmark’s foresters were using in the field to enhance the user experience.

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