Urban Forest Map: Wikipedia + Google maps, but for Trees


Image: Urban Forest Map
We <3 Trees
I love trees, something not too surprising for someone writing for a site called TreeHugger, and I'm very happy to see that the Urban Forest Map is launching. It's a kind of hybrid between Google Maps and Wikipedia; It starts with data provided by the city, and then allows people to add details and fill in the gaps about every tree in their city (starting with San Francisco, and later expanding to other places). It also give an estimate of the benefits that those trees provide to the local population based on the Center for Urban Forest Research's data.
Image: Urban Forest Map
Why Do It?
Urban Forest Map writes: "You'll be taking a critical step to improve our urban environment and make our city a more green and liveable place. The information added to the Map will be used by urban forest managers, landscape architects, and planners to plan for future growth and planting opportunities, improve wildlife habitat, maximize ecosystem services, and grow a strong and healthy urban forest. While you're helping achieve those goals, you'll also be helping make your own environment better."

Indeed, what you can measure you can manage. Having an easily accessible database of all the trees in a city can help maximize benefits and see the holes where more trees are needed.

Since everything's open source, if someone else has a good idea of something to do with all this tree-info, they're free to go ahead and build their project. "The data, the software source code, and the website html/css code are licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL)"

And by getting local volunteers to help, you give them a stake (if only emotional) in the well-being of local trees. That might actually be the biggest benefit!

Via Urban Forest Map, WIRED
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Tags: San Francisco