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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.

like this...

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.

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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.

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