Case study of Coillte management with HAMS.online

Case study of Coillte management with HAMS.online

About Coillte

Coillte provides

1. General recreational land access

  • Licence management for varied activities
  • Estate and attraction management and conservation
  • Event management

2. Forest management

  • Logging and firewood sales
  • Trails
  • etc.

3. Management of habitat and wildlife

  • Population management
  • Disease control
  • Anti Poaching Activities
  • Lettings management

Coillte land in numbers

Coillte is a commercial forestry business in Ireland

7% of the country’s land is managed by Coillte

Size: 440,000 ha

Forest properties: c. 6000

Visitors: c. 2 million 

Land is divided into:

  • 6 management regions
  • 321 forests
  • 6,002 properties
  • 23,513 compartments
  • 128,105 subcompartments


  • 900 (across all divisions)
  • 6 BAU Admins
  • 30 Estate Forest Managers

Recreational Land Management

Coillte manages 260 recreational sites (picnic sites, forest parks, gardens and walking trails)

  • 90,000 ha is dedicated to recreational activities

33 different activities are licenced

  • Events like running competitions, bike races, car rallies, filming, weddings, and many more require a licence to be carried out 

Deer is highly overpopulated species in Ireland and the management of deer is a necessity to protect the trees and agricultural lands

  • Deer management is carried out through land lettings

Illustration: Avondale Forest Park (source: Coillte.ie)

Managing general visitors and lessees

Before HAMS.online

  • Coillte managed visitors and lessees through a combination of systems including ArcGIS, an internal document and data management system, Agresso and emails.  
  • All applications, requests and enquiries were done via email and phone calls.
  • Land reservation for certain activities was also managed through phone calls and emails.
  • BAU Admins had to deal with “a lot of pen and paper” based information and documents.
  • Missing/outdated documents via emails and phone calls had to be chased via phone calls and emails

Since HAMS.online

  • One system to manage everything 
  • Zero paperwork
  • BAU Admins can do everything digitally
  • All communication is carried out through the internal messaging system of HAMS.online 
  • Communication and notes recorded against licence so staff changes don’t interfere with continuity 
  • No more cash payments, invoicing is automated and managed by HAMS.online
  • Land reservation is done by the licence and permit holders through HAMS.online, no more phone call and emails

License and permit application process

Before HAMS.online

Managing access to land is done through licencing and permitting.

To obtain a licence or permit visitors needed to get in contact with a BAU Admin or Forest Manager to start the licencing or permitting process. 

The BAU Admin would have to request details of:

  • Who wanted the licence
  • When they wanted it for
  • Where they wanted it for
  • Duration
  • Request insurance information and other necessary certificates

Once this information was collected the licence/permit was requested, signed and posted.

Since HAMS.online

  • All licence and permit applications handled digitally.
  • All required data inputted on HAMS.online, the licence and permit holders managing and uploading their own personal information, insurances and certificates.
  • BAU Admins simply assess the request and either authorise, deny or request further clarification or correction(s) in the provided information.


Before HAMS.online

  • Licence and permit applications would have to include copies of insurance and relevant certificates
  • The licence holder would then contact the BAU Admin
  • The BAU Admin would review everything.  
  • After going backwards and forwards and following chains of emails and phone calls the permit may or may not be issued.

Since HAMS.online

  • Insurance, certificate and relevant documents are managed through the system.
  • All HAMS.online users can manage and update their own official documents.
  • Expiry dates, insurance cover amounts are reviewed automatically according to the licence or permit type. 
  • Any discrepancies are automatically highlighted and chased.
  • Missing/outdated documentation requested through HAMS.online’s internal messaging.
  • HAMS.online notifies the admins about expired certificates, insurances and other documents.


Before HAMS.online

  • Coillte would produce and publish PDF format catalogues twice yearly.  
  • When someone wanted to tender they would download the catalogues then fill in a paper-based application form which they would send into Coillte.  
  • Scoring and valuation was then carried out manually on paper.   
  • Any missing information would have to be chased via email or phone call. 

Since HAMS.online

  • Lettings for tender are published through HAMS.online.
  • Search for lettings is done through an interface designed to search and filter the best lands best suited to the needs of the applicant. All lettings for tender are available on an interactive map.
  • Applications done digitally, supported by a workflow management engine to help both Coillte and the applicants. 
  • Tender form is created with HAMS.online tender form builder.
  • Part of scoring and evaluation is automated based on the criteria specified by Coillte.
  • All communication is done through the internal messaging and notification system of HAMS.

Managing payments

Before HAMS.online

  • Payments of long term licences is done in instalments.
  • Payments were done in cash, wire-transfer and cheque.
  • Invoice creation was triggered manually.
  • Tracking of payment due dates required the generation of monthly reports and human interactions (emails, phone calls).

Since HAMS.online

  • Instalments can be set up for any licence in HAMS.online.
  • HAMS.online then tracks due dates of payment and sends a notification to the licence holder.
  • Also, admins are notified about upcoming payment dates and overdue payments.
  • Cash payments are diverted to credit card payment. 
  • All invoices generated automatically by HAMS.online
  • Cash payments are also handled in the system.
  • All transaction and payment information (including invoices) updated automatically with the Agresso accounting system.
  • Payment data and charts (incomes-expenses) also available in HAMS for the admin to track, review and analyse finances.

The use of zones & managing people

Before HAMS.online

  • Coillte managed spatial information in ArcGIS (a complicated GIS - Geographic Information System).
  • Land use and occupancy was managed via email and phone calls with a 48 hour in advance notification rule.
  • Admins had to cross reference land use using calendars, notes, emails and ArcGIS.
  • The risk of human error potentially leading to dangerous situations was high.
  • There was no easy to view and access land use information and statistics.
  • The potential of conflicts from concurrent land use was high.

Since HAMS.online

  • Fully digital area reservation and check-in, check out has removed the need for phone calls, messages and emails.
  • Land use is visible on a map and in calendar format in HAMS.online for admins and forest managers.
  • Through HAMS.online admins can “lock” areas (zones) to block reservations and check-ins.
Licence and permit holders can check-in through HAMS.online. 
  • Helps organise people on the land
  • Increases safety, reduces conflicts
  • Helps collect better data 
  • Dramatically reduces paperwork
  • Reduces human error
  • Land use information is easy to track and visualise both in calendar and on digital map

With HAMS.online

  • No more phone calls and email chains organising people and confrontations regarding who goes where and when.
  • In zones where multiple people can check in the first person knows who wants to come after them and where they will be.
  • Electronic zone occupancy has increased safety and real-time access to info and quick info sharing reduces conflicts.
  • Coillte saves time and money, has access to better and more accurate data.
  • Safety of guests on the land is improved
  • Reduced paperwork
  • Reduced wildlife crime

Deer and Game Management

Before HAMS.online

General lack of data
  • No regular population estimation, deer density survey information was collected but…
  • There was no specific tool in use to collect and analyse game management data
  • Cull reports provided by the licence holder contained minimal information and reporting was done by the end of the year (memories are often unreliable)
  • There was no available software to analyse, visualise data, changes and trends
  • The lack of data made strategic, long term planning impossible
  • No method to monitor disease spread

With HAMS.online

Easy access to close to real-time, accurate, well organised data.

  • HAMS.online is designed to collect, organise and analyse game management data.
  • Annual cull plans and cull report facts help to analyse changes and trends with the help of data visualisation tools, custom chart makers, and easy to access and read charts, stats, report.
  • Cull reporting can be on the land immediately with location, weather information.
  • The collection of bioindicators is possible for science projects.
  • Locating harvests is accurate now and helps with creating heat-maps, pressure maps. Helping the fight against damage in crops.
  • Uploaded images are helping with more accurate identification of age, sex, weight and health of the animals. 

Management strategy

  • Overpopulation of deer is a major issue across Ireland.
  • Data collection is a necessity to protect saplings and woodland. Overpopulated deer makes the renewal of forests much more difficult.
  • Limited data has hindered efforts to manage wildlife populations in Ireland. 

Illustration: Chris Ponzi from Unsplash

Management goals behind introducing HAMS.online:

  1. To protect woodland
  2. To maintain healthy population sizes
  3. To reduce car wildlife incidents
  4. To reduce game damage to crops
  5. To record better observations
  6. To make better inform management planning
  7. To help reduce illegal activities including poaching 

Long term strategy & plans

  • Introduction of selective game management is a necessity.
  • Selective cull planning and game management is:
  • Cull animals with irregular antlers or weak, unhealthy, bad genetics 
  • Let the most beautiful animals reach their peak age and cull them after their culmination period with the largest possible antlers
  • Population is managed in sex and age groups
  • Cull plan calculation based on data and trends

Data collection

Before HAMS.online

  • Data was recorded on paper and multiple digital systems 
  • Minimal data was collected
  • Data would often contain mistakes through human error, sometimes there was difficulty reading the handwritten information
  • Organising and processing collected data was resource extensive 
  • Analysing trends and cross referencing data was limited or nearly impossible due to lack of data and information 
  • Admin tasks took too long and often contained admin mistakes.

With HAMS.online

  • Data collection is all digital
  • Mistakes have been reduced
  • Communication and information sharing is easier and better than ever
  • Data analysis of changes and trends is done using the custom chart maker and takes only a few seconds. 
  • Regularly used data tables are available with just a few clicks. 
  • Wider access to information that was never available due to the resource extensive tasks.
  • Better and easier reporting and communication 

Overall Summary

How HAMS.online changed the practices at Coillte.

According to them:

  • Accessing valuable, accurate information is now simple, easy and natural 
  • Both from a land occupancy, habitat management and wildlife management perspective. 
  • HAMS.online drastically reduced costs 
  • Land related works, gamekeeping tasks are more organised and administered while the hassle around admin tasks is easier, more efficient and natural
  • Analysing data, trends, planning, reporting is easier and better than ever before
  • Information sharing and access is much better 
  • Conflicts have almost completely disappeared


“HAMS is a modern online system, that will help us meet current and future business needs for a lettings and licences management system ensuring we maximise the benefits of technological advances. 
It will help support the management of wild deer and game on Coillte’s estate, through improved quality of the data collected. 
With the introduction of workflows it will also help streamline the tendering process and also help simplify and expedite the sharing of data captured. 
The system will facilitate for better communications with our users and allows them to check in and out when hunting which is a key risk control to help us manage safety on the estate.”

Bernard Burke // BAU Leader // Coillte Forests | Coillte

“The HAMS online system is a great tool to bring together several manual processes into one easy to use system. Collecting and reporting accurate data is crucial to all land management roles especially with the current scrutiny we are under from a wide variety of stakeholders. As well as making life easier for our members the HAMS system offers evidence of best practice and enhances the duty of care to guests, visitors and colleagues when working in remote areas. After using the system for a few weeks, territory and game management actually become enjoyable tasks with trends and anomalies becoming easily identifiable.”

Tony Stevenson // Head of Business // Scottish Land & Estates

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