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In the age of climate change, natural resource management in cities is an increasingly difficult task as city managers and planners have to to consider the health and longevity of their city’s green infrastructure.

The 2016-3 issue of Trimble’s technology & more included an interesting article entitled “Urban Greening – Improving city life by planting trees” which reviewed the use of Trimble’s eCognition software for tree canopy management in the city of Boulder, Colorado.

As urban leaders are confronted with the need for detailed and timely information to “effectively design smart environmental programs” within their cities they are increasingly turning to geo-information driven solutions. eCognition provides city planners with a means to integrate geospatial imagery and GIS data sets to automate the production of land-cover classifications of specific object types such as trees or buildings enabling city officials to accurately asses the question, “how is our urban tree canopy developing?”

In order to meet the goals laid out in their Resilience Strategy, the city of Boulder, CO realized that “maintaining its existing tree canopy and strategically increasing it” are several methods to help them reach an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. The City has partnered with Trimble and DigitalGlobe to determine a baseline UTC (urban tree canopy). The resulting UTC assessment shows tree location and coverage, allowing the City to “prioritize future management plans and track green infrastructure changes”.

Boulder is one of the latest cities to implement eCognition software for their tree canopy mapping – a number of cities in the eastern United States, including New York, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., are already successfully using eCognition-based solutions.

The University of Vermont’s Spatial Analysis Laboratory has played a key role in the development of UTC data sets in a number of cities throughout the U.S. National Geographic used this high-resolution UTC data in their online Arbor Day article “Nine Cities That Love Their Trees”. The interactive results are a great demonstration of the power such data sets can have.

Enjoy the articles and let us know if you have questions!

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