Better Ground


Find Out What You Have

The most powerful way to understand a community’s tree canopy and urban forest is through digital mapping. Today’s technology allows for detailed depiction of the natural resource and the ability to compare with other GIS layers of a jurisdiction’s infrastructure. Having accurate and up-to-date data layers will make the analysis more useful. 

Considerations about MAPPING

  • High-resolution GIS tree canopy layer (and ideally LiDAR) is best to determine characteristics of forest: deciduous vs. coniferous, health decline, etc. and to use with other GIS layers for useful assessment and analysis. Be aware that often aerial imagery for infrastructure mapping is “leaf-off,” when summer images are needed for complete tree canopy layer (resources below provide more on mapping specifications and process).

  • A tree inventory can be incorporated into the tree-canopy GIS layer and may be a great opportunity to collaborate with the community.
  • Depending on community’s rate of growth and development activity, update every five years.

Resource Links by Topic

Photo credit: City of Shoreline – Green Street design