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Compendium of Best Urban Forest Management Practices

Chapter 7. GIS and Other Technologies

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In recent years, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other technologies have been increasingly used in urban forest management. A GIS is a database where the output generated is a visual representation of the geographic relationships of that information. The potential for mapping trees has many implications for forest management and education; vector and raster techniques can be used in the digital representation of the geographic data to display and analyze various attributes based on specific objectives (e.g. being able to generate a map displaying underground and overhead infrastructure with elevation data for a proposed planting site; or, coupled with tree inventory data, being able to model sun angle diagrams in relation to existing vegetation or buildings to increase shade provision at a given site, etc.). Other technologies include more sophisticated equipment, hardware and software for dendrology, soil and tree core sampling, leaf area and crown density monitoring, geographic positioning systems (GPS), etc. With the age of technology upon us, the benefit to having access to these tools often proves to be more time efficient and effective in management planning.


Regent Instruments Image Analysis System for Plant Science
Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) Canada
Virtual Terrain Project
SMODT, ArcTrees, and Tree Modules
City of Toronto; Toronto Mono Viewer

Non-Canadian sites & resources

Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI)
American Forests: CITYgreen software
Handheld Technologies for Urban Forestry (.PDF)
i-Tree Technologies
ParkScan: Neighbourhood Parks Council
Mobile Community Tree Inventory (MCTI)
Using GIS to Determine Critical Forest Areas for Protection Based on Desired Community Benefits(.PDF)

Bibliographical Resources:

Chor, P.L. (2002). Concepts and Techniques in Geographic Information Systems. New York: Prentice Hall.

Falconer, A., Foresman, J. (Eds.). (2002). A System for Survival: GIS and Sustainable Development. Redlands, CA: ESRI Press.

Malone, L., Palmer, A., Voigt, C. (2003). Teacher’s Guide: Community Geography: GIS in Action. Redlands, CA: ESRI Press.

Towle, K. (2002). Using GIS to Identify and Evaluate Forest Conservation and Restoration Opportunities in an Urbanizing Landscape. Poster Presentation. 5th Canadian Urban Forest Conference Oct. 7-9, Region of York, Ontario.


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