Nearly a year ago I mentioned to Chad Giblin, a scientist here in the Horticulture Department, that I had some programming experience in case he needed a web designer. He Acknowledged the offer, and immediately changed the subject to this other secret project he had be scheming up. After many meetings with Jeff Gilman (a Professor here in the Hort. Dept.) and representatives from Saint Paul Parks & Recreation and Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, we've decided we have sufficient resources (combined with an admirable amount of enthusiasm) to develop a public interface for the tree inventory work done in the Twin Cities.
The first goal of the project is to bring together a few tree inventory databases to your iPhone or iPad. Using the map on your iThing you'll be able to learn more than you ever wanted to know about whichever public trees you are currently standing by. Want to find the oldest tree in your neighborhood? Want to find out which Catalpa tree is the largest? Just search it up
Next we hope to bring the tree inventory map to other platforms (Firefox, Chrome, IE, Android) and allow you to send us your pictures and thoughts about the special trees in your life.
I believe that tree cover greatly adds to the value and charm of a neighborhood or city (more than just asthetically!), and so a lot of the value of the Twin Cities is being maintained by the local forestry departments/organizations. Furthermore I believe that the sharing of information between public institutions and the general public creates a more aware and engaged population, even if that information is as simple as knowing how old the tree is in your front yard.
I'll be updating this blog with development progress as well as my thoughts about technology and people and trees and whatever else.