Before the iOS tree map project was made official I was learning iOS Cocoa/Objective C so I could give a better estimate for what this project would involve. I've found lessons from the website of Ray Wenderlich to be incredibly helpful in the process, so I'd recommend his website to anyone new to the iOS world.
So far the app starts up immediately to a map populated with a few dozen boring ol' mapkit pins showing some basic information of nearby landmark trees.
For the code-savvy:
With the database files I received from the kind people at MPRB and SPPR I converted the tree data into JSON format using this handy little converter. This tree inventory data contains a lot of useful information such as tree height, age, and canopy spread, but to start I just used the GPS coordinates and tree name. Using everyone's favorite JSON Framework it was easy to bring these trees into coredata. From there, the map view controller places each gps point as a mapkit pin, and tacks on the common and latin name of the tree to the label.
This summarizes all progress so far, I'll keep posting my additions from here.
Coming up next in development, I'll be adding a new view to display more information for a given tree, and then I'll start working on database search and filter functions.