We’re excited to announce that PhillyTreeMap is now available as a mobile app for iPhone and iPad devices! You can download the app for free at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/phillytreemap/id553281447
Launched in April 2011, PhillyTreeMap is a web-based geographic database of trees in the greater 13-county, 3-state Philadelphia region. While people have been adding trees to PhillyTreeMap for months now, we hope that the mobile app version of the site will make that process just a little bit easier. If you’re going to map a tree, after all, it’s much more convenient to add details about it while you’re standing directly in front of the tree and using your smartphone. Walking down the street and see a great tree? Add it to PhillyTreeMap in just a few seconds. And why not have a neighborhood tree mapping party to make sure the trees on your street are in the system? Teach your kids about the natural environment and importance of the urban forest by going on a field expedition to survey the trees near your home. With the increase in smartphone and tablet use, we think there are truly intriguing possibilities for using apps for tree surveys.
The possible benefits of using mobile technology for tree inventories were demonstrated this past summer as interns at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission used iPads to conduct a survey of over 1,500 trees in South Philadelphia. Using the iPads, the interns were able to add trees and edit data directly in PhillyTreeMap and then export their survey results for further spatial analysis. To view the updated information on PhillyTreeMap, search for the South Philadelphia or Whitman neighborhoods.
The PhillyTreeMap iPhone app serves as the first component of the mobile version of OpenTreeMap, the open source software that powers PhillyTreeMap. We chose to use PhillyTreeMap for our prototype application but to construct the app in such a way that the code, with some customization, could be used with other OpenTreeMap sites. We’re working with several other cities and hope to have additional OpenTreeMap iPhone apps launched in the next month.
An Android app version of the OpenTreeMap software is currently under development and should be available later this fall. In the meantime, users can also visit PhillyTreeMap and the other OpenTreeMap sites — Urban Forest Map; San Diego County Tree Map; Grand Rapids Urban Forest Project using a tablet computer. If you’ve used the PhillyTreeMap iPhone app, let us know what you think!