treeOcode Niagara – The Essence of Practical Open Data

treeOcode Niagara benefits diagram

Urban Forest Benefits Diagram

treeOcode Niagara is a Geospatial Niagara community engagement initiative developed in partnership between Geospatial Niagara and Public Service Request Inc. to crowd-source data about the Urban Forests of Niagara’s 12 municipalities. Many jurisdictions across the province and indeed throughout North America, with the cooperation and support of numerous organizations, have taken an active interest in the preservation and propagation of the Urban Forest Canopy for the health and benefits which are derived from it.

treeOcode Niagara Goals:

There are a number of goals that treeOcode Niagara strives for, with varying benefits to the many participants and stakeholders. These include environmental, educational and economic benefits and the social benefit of citizen engagement and active participation. All data collected will be available and shared as Open Data to private citizens, institutions, researchers, the Region and Municipalities. The goals listed below are by no means a complete list, and can be readily expanded upon.

Environmental:

The health and environmental benefits of Urban Forests and trees in general is well documented and include the following:

  • production of oxygen
  • noise mitigation
  • storm water runoff mitigation
  • trees as carbon sinks
  • trees as pollution scrubbers
  • trees as windbreaks
  • temperature regulators
  • soil erosion mitigation
  • phytoremediation

Educational:

treeOcode Niagara seeks to attract student, resident and business volunteers from across Niagara, to be treeOcoding “Stewards”. Local schools may choose to adopt their neighbourhood and allow teachers to take the opportunity to educate their students on the importance of the Urban Tree Canopy as part of students’ geographic education while engaging in friendly inventory data collection competitions. The opportunity is also available to educate everyone about the importance of the Urban Forest Canopy on private property.

The data collected is already being utilized in a number of research endeavours, from the calculation of the total benefits the Urban Forest Canopy provides; in studies of biodiversity within the Urban Area Boundary (UAB); overall tree health; areas that may need special attention; opportunities for enhanced tree planting efforts.

Community tree planting events will also be highlighted in the Treevents section of each page.

Economic:

  • increases to property value
  • overall energy savings
  • ongoing data collection for municipal inventories
  • municipal work planning – sidewalk repair/pruning
  • investment of cost savings on planting more trees or other preservation initiatives

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