Thu 5 Dec 2019 10:43PM

Adding trees

SL Stuart Lowe Public Seen by 72

The Leeds Ecosystem, Atmosphere & Forest (LEAF) Centre at the University of Leeds recently did a campus tree survey and mapped 1400 individual trees (not on Open Street Map). They then used the species/genus/height/diameter data to work out the environmental benefits such as CO2 storage, pollution reduction, and flood mitigation using the iTree Eco tool e.g. https://leaf.leeds.ac.uk/news/i-tree-leeds-putting-a-value-on-the-citys-trees/

Their existing data was collected from paper-based surveys that they did from their own maps so there is potential for them to add their existing dataset to OSM. I've suggested they do that and it would be good to know if anyone has experience adding a bulk dataset as I don't.

I've also suggested that they broaden their reach to a wider community and get people to add trees directly to Open Street Map so that the data are available to everyone and not locked up in a silo (there are many tree data silos). I realised that it might be good to make it easier for people to add trees (and the relevant information needed for environmental modelling) to OSM so I've started making a web app that will be just for this task. Obviously people can also use the existing web editors etc but I wanted to provide a helping hand for various aspects of this.

I have made a start using the dev version of OSM. I found a Javascript OSM/OAuth library that means I can get the app to log in (but logging in again later seems to make a new app authorisation). I've worked out the basics of using Overpass to get nearby trees. I'm part way to constructing the appropriate changesets in XML. I'm also making some tools to help ordinary people with adding tree height and identifying the tree species/genus. I've done a few things already:

Do other people think this is useful? Is this a bad way for me to go about this?

My main aim is to get more trees mapped and their data available. But I also want individual users to get credit for the data they add (hence needing to work out how to do OAuth in the browser).


Stuart Lowe Tue 10 Dec 2019 10:19AM

In addition to this, The Open University are trying to create a standard for recording individual trees in surveys. Is there any way to feed this into adding additional tags to natural=tree so that an OSM survey would be compatible?


Brian Prangle Wed 11 Dec 2019 9:27PM

Hi Stuart I imported Birmingham City Council's tree database (several thousand data points) and learnt a lot from my mistakes -happy to advise


Brian Prangle Wed 11 Dec 2019 9:28PM

Stuart It would be great if the OU could discuss this directly with the chapter - do you have a contact?


Stuart Lowe Wed 11 Dec 2019 10:15PM

Brian, unfortunately I don't have any contacts with them. The OU TreeZilla account tweeted the survey and that was how I found out about their proposed standard https://twitter.com/Treezilla_org/status/1200064442425397248


Brian Prangle Wed 11 Dec 2019 11:25PM


The twitter feed sends me to a map based on GoogleMaps called treezilla.org ( http://treezilla.org ) but there is also a mention of a project called opentreemap which is a global opensource project whose data is released under the terms of the GNU Affero General Public License version 3. Not sure if this is compatible with ODbL. Are you working separately from or together with this initiative? If together, which one treezilla or pentreemap? It looks like there's some synergy here that might be worth exploring




Stuart Lowe Tue 17 Dec 2019 3:10PM

The very long OU survey is at http://www3.open.ac.uk/forms/individualtreedatastandard/

I'm not involved with either group. I was unable to find a link to open data on the OpenTreeMap site or the TreeZilla site. Do you have a link to a download (and the licence for the download)? OpenTreeMap and TreeZilla aren't the only data collection silos (e.g. The Woodland Trust have their own separate app for recording trees) and I was hoping to suggest that OSM be a good place to do this work in the open to avoid duplication.


Christian Ledermann Wed 18 Dec 2019 9:26AM

I have some notes on tree detection from aerial imagery


RobJN Tue 24 Dec 2019 4:22PM

The webapp idea is really great Stuart. Would certainly help people who want to focus on trees add this data to OpenStreetMap. At what stage do you start approaching the existing groups to bring them on board? Happy to help explain the benefits of OpenStreetMap to them if needed.


Huw Diprose Wed 29 Jul 2020 11:35AM

Hey Brian, really interested in the work you mentioned about importing a tree dataset from the council.

Do you know anything more about general availbility of those datasets? Are they things councils generally have as part of their environmental services, or are there legal responsibilities to collect that data?

or is it just the more progressive digitally enabled folks who are making them and putting them out into the world?

Would love to chat about how you found the data to use. And could likely help with a web app if that's the direction the community wanted to go in?


rskedgell Fri 7 Aug 2020 8:13AM

There's a dataset for Greater London's trees collated from local borough information by the Greater London Authority and released under OGL v3. It includes data from boroughs who never release any open data directly.

I'm gradually starting to match some trees in parts of the London Boroughs of Newham and Waltham Forest with Bing aerial imagery to get an idea of how accurate they are, before contemplating and import. The trees in at least one borough in south east London have already been imported by another user.


Load More