Azavea Releases Source Code for PhillyTreeMap to Provide Municipalities and Citizen Groups With Collaborative Urban Forestry Inventory Tools

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The Open Source Code, Named ‘OpenTreeMap’ Is Now Available on GitHub.com and Is Designed to Be Implemented for Any City in the World

Screenshot of PhillyTreeMap

Users can edit or add to existing tree records and upload tree images

“We could not be more pleased to collaborate with the Urban Ecos team. Kelaine Vargas was one of the original developers on the iTree Streets program and brings considerable knowledge about urban forestry and ecosystems. - Robert Cheetham, CEO of Azavea

In April Azavea, a geospatial analysis (GIS) software development company launched PhillyTreeMap.org http://phillytreemap.org/ , a wiki-inspired geographic urban tree inventory application that enables the general public to collaborate with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), and other local groups to map trees in the 13-county, 3-state Philadelphia region. Today, Azavea announces that the code of the PhillyTreeMap.org project is released as open source software under the name OpenTreeMap, and is freely available at: https://github.com/azavea/OpenTreeMap.

Urban street trees have myriad proven benefits for communities including providing shade, improving air quality, intercepting stormwater runoff, raising property values, decreasing utility bills, and enhancing the look and feel of communities. While tree inventories provide municipalities with vital data to consult when managing the urban forest, creating a complete inventory is a time consuming and resource intensive process. OpenTreeMap provides an easy-to-use public inventory platform that enables individuals, organizations, and governments to collaboratively contribute to an interactive and dynamic map of a community’s tree population. OpenTreeMap can be used in a single municipality or cover a broader geographic region with many communities.

After completing a free registration, users can add trees to the system, edit or add to existing tree records, and upload tree images. All changes are immediately visible in the system, but a group of trained administrators may also elect to review changes and new entries to ensure accuracy. Each tree is associated with a particular location and may include information such as species, diameter, images of the tree, and yearly ecosystem impact metrics. Calculated using iTree, an urban forestry analysis and benefits assessment software suite developed by the USDA Forest Service, these ecological impact numbers provide a clear illustration of the environmental and economic impacts that trees have on the urban landscape.

Created using Django, Python and PostgreSQL, OpenTreeMap’s original code was developed by Urban Ecos and Umbrella Consulting for the award-winning Urban Forest Map project in San Francisco. Azavea adopted the software and extended it with support from a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the US Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) (Grant Number 2010-33610-20937). Azavea and Urban Ecos plan to collaborate on future urban forestry projects and are seeking additional funding to extend the software to smart phones and tablets, add social networking features, create curricular materials for schools and add new ecosystem modeling features.

“We could not be more pleased to collaborate with the Urban Ecos team. Kelaine Vargas was one of the original developers on the iTree Streets program and brings considerable knowledge about urban forestry and ecosystems. We hope that the OpenTreeMap code will be used by communities around the world to ensure our urban forests are valued and nurtured by the communities in which they grow.” says Robert Cheetham, President and CEO of Azavea.

For more information about OpenTreeMap, visit: http://www.azavea.com/opentreemap/

About Azavea
Azavea is an award-winning geospatial analysis (GIS) software development firm specializing in the creation of location-based web and mobile software as well as geospatial analysis services. Azavea is a certified B Corporation that applies geographic data and technology to promote the emergence of more dynamic, vibrant, and sustainable communities. Each of Azavea’s projects, products and pro bono engagements showcases this commitment. For more information, visit http://www.azavea.com.

If you would like more information about Azavea or to schedule an interview with Robert Cheetham, Azavea CEO and President, please contact Abby Fretz at (215) 701 – 7503 or e-mail afretz@azavea.com.

About Urban Ecos
Urban Ecos offers ecological consulting to government agencies, educational institutions, and private companies, helping to make our cities greener and more environmentally sound. With the latest technology and the most up-to-date science, we focus on using our natural resources to increase sustainability. For more information, visit http://www.urban-ecos.com/

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Abby Fretz
Azavea
(215) 701-7503
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