Growth Rings

San Francisco urban canopy gets on the map

Posted on April 29, 2010 at 2:33 pm
Could this new urban forestry mapping service be coming to your city? (

Could this new urban forestry mapping service be coming to your city? (

Coming soon to a city near you, a Wiki-fied map of every urban street tree.

The San Francisco urban canopy got a lot of national attention last week regarding, a public forum that allows citizens to contribute and edit detailed information about the trees in their community.

Using Google Maps, the Web site provides a street address for every tree that also includes species name, common name, trunk diameter and an estimated yearly ‘eco impact’ registered in a dollar amount.

Angie DiSalvo of Portland Urban Forestry said she has followed this initiative for five years and is curious about the cost-management details.

“I think it has great potential—there are a lot of urban forestry folks watching and waiting to see what type of data comes in and how it will be used,” wrote DiSalvo in an email.

“They have built some really creative ideas in to their program,” she wrote, specifically mentioning the citizen correction of tree location, “as they are often in incorrect spots due to geocoding limitations.”

The mapping project manager, Amber Bieg, told that the mapping and surveying of trees in big cities can be pricey, up to $3 per tree.

“If you are LA and you have 10 million trees, you’re spending 30 million dollars,” Bieg told Wired. “That’s bigger than the entire urban forestry budget.”

What do you think of this new urban forestry mapping forum? Could it be put to good use in Portland?

Friends of Trees has archival mapping data that stretches back several years and is used annually for community planting schematics, and also for establishing tree inspection and summer monitoring routes.

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–Toshio Suzuki

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