Adjusting Block Eligibility using the Timing Constraint Editor

Setting eligibility restrictions on individual blocks is another way to influence the decision making of the Patchworks scheduler. Eligibility restrictions can make blocks unavailable for automated scheduling decisions during specific planning periods, essentially restricting the number of blocks available for the solution.

Block eligibility is adjusted using the 'Timing Constraint Editor' (see Figure 62, “The Timing Constraint Editor”). The editor is a 'one way' tool available to manipulate the eligibility of each individual block during each planning period. This tool is best described as ONE WAY because changes made in the Constraints Editor are registered in the Block Table, however changes to individual blocks in the Block Table will not be registered with the Constraint Editor. Ultimately, it is the status of the blocks in the Block Table that determines availability for the scheduler, however the Editor provides a convenient tool to adjust large numbers of blocks at one time.

The Constraint Editor provides a number of options for manipulating groups of blocks with a few simple clicks. The alternative to using the Constraint Editor would be to visit each block individually and manually set the availability for treatments at a particular time. The Constraint Editor can be used to group blocks according to attributes found in the Block Table, adjusting the status of all groups of blocks at once.


Block availability only applies to managed blocks, as unmanaged areas are unavailable for treatments at any time.

To access the Timing Constraint Editor, select Tools > Timing Editor from the main Patchworks.

Figure 62. The Timing Constraint Editor

The relationship of the Timing Constraint Editor and the Block Table is best illustrated with a few graphical examples. In the following figure a Constraint table was set up according to Marten habitat areas (a block attribute) and applied to the Block Table. Notice the 'One Way' relationship of the Editor to the Block Table, and keep in mind that constraints established in the Constraint Editor are only applied to Blocks with a 'managed area'.

Figure 63. 'One Way' Relationship of Constraint Editor

Blocks can be grouped together to adjust eligibility according to any classification column found in the Block Table. Blocks can be classified into groups using the 'Unit column' drop down menu. This menu will list all fields from the Block Table that contain data items suitable for making a classification (i.e. all data columns that have discrete string or integer values).