The New York City Parks Department kicked off the 2015 Tree Census– the first official count of the city’s green residents in three decades. On May 19, local officials, sponsors, neighbourhood activists, residents and members of environmental group Sustainable South Bronx gathered in Julio Carballo Park on Manida Street to speak about the environment, learn about advancements in mapping technology, and witness first-hand how trees contribute to the community.
City Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver and Chief Technology Officer Minerva Tantoco teamed up to start the festivities by mapping the first trees of the census. Thousands of volunteers will now travel to all five boroughs to record important data on the estimated 600,000 street trees scattered around the city.
TreesCount! 2015, with Nektar Data Systems’ mobile data collection app, Histree participating as one the sponsors, marks the largest street tree count in the nation. Once the trees are counted, the data will help the city manage the trees better, as well as create a map of where trees need to be planted in all of the boroughs. The Parks Department can then assign foresters to specific areas that need the most help.
The stars of the event were clearly the neighborhood’s trees. And while the Tree Census has a practical purpose, organizers hope it will also promote the importance of greenery in the urban environment. Trees absorb pollutants, which is extremely important thoughout New York City’s neighbourhoods, where it is estimated that about 30 percent of young people have asthma.
In addition, the shade provided by trees can benefit residents by cooling energy-inefficient buildings in summer, bringing down utility bills.
Nektar Data Systems and Histree’s asset tracking system is strategically involved in tracking and managing all the data collection equipment and the near 9000 planned volunteers to be involved in the census program which will take approximately 6 months to complete.
The Histree tree tracking product is also being used in the MillionTreesNYC planting program to identify, manage and verify all trees that are planted and maintained in the 2015 work season. Current 2015 plans are for 25,000 trees to be planted by 7 different contractors. Histree is being used to quantify all contractual obligations and activities. Contractors are currently well into the planting season and NYC parks administrative staff have expressed an overwhelming embracement of the real-time information that Histree provides to them.