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Wired News: Hack That Urban Forest

Mar 12, 2007, 12:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rachel Swaby)

"The Urban Forest Mapping Project is infoporn for the eco set. The open-source database, which launched Wednesday, gives anyone access to all sorts of information about 140,000 public trees in San Francisco. Believe it or not, there's actually a lot to track about a tree--type, location, permit records, nasty parasites and miscellaneous pruning issues. Oh, and all the graffiti tags.

:But that's just the start: Roughly 80 percent of the U.S. population either lives or works in urban environments, and local governments often struggle with tracking and maintaining their foliage. Typically--as previously was the case in San Francisco--troops of volunteers hit the streets with fill-in-the-blank paper forms and old-fashioned maps. Oftentimes, the crew would expect to find a group of trees based on historical records, but instead would find the trees missing (or, perhaps, incorrectly mapped in the first place). Then, there would be the two hours of data entry to set the record straight..."

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