DC Cherry Tree Viewer

Did you know that there are almost 10,000 cherry trees outside of the tidal basin to see throughout D.C.? SymGEO was honored to help DDOT build the DC Local Cherry Tree Finder leveraging the Urban Forestry Division‘s tree inventory and ArcGIS Online‘s configurable applications to quickly assemble and launch in time for peak blooming.

If you missed it this year, don’t worry, there’s always next spring season!

Talk to our industry experts today if your agency or organization is interested in community engagement with the power of Esri’s ArcGIS mapping solutions – SymGEO is here to help!

Pop-up Arboretum

An arboretum is a place where trees, shrubs, and other plants are grown for scientific and educational purposes. A park typically has trees, shrubs, and other plants for the enjoyment of families and friends. Why not have an arboretum in a park? Genius! Check out the first “pop-up arboretum” at Oxon Run Park in Ward 8 by the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) Urban Forestry Division. SymGEO is pleased to help launch the Pop-Up Arboretum website with all the specifics of what amazing things can be found at this natural outdoor exhibit.

The site is built using ArcGIS Hub technology and features an ArcGIS StoryMap designed to help guide people on their outdoor educational adventure. The site also links to scientific information about each tree species provided by the Smithsonian Institute’s Plant Explorer.

Signs are posted on or near the trees in English and Spanish with QR Codes that link back to the Pop-Up Arboretum website for further information. Be sure to enjoy our natural environment while learning all about the trees at Oxon Run Park!

Talk to our industry experts today if your agency or organization is interested in community engagement with the power of Esri’s ArcGIS Hub or ArcGIS StoryMaps – SymGEO is here to help!

Tree Permitting

Did you know that any Washington DC resident or contractor who wishes to plant, prune, or remove a tree within the public right of way must first obtain permission from the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Urban Forestry Division? However, knowing when, where, and how to get the right permit for tree work in DC can be a complicated process. Fortunately, DDOT has a new resource available to make it easy! Check out the Tree Permitting Hub site to answer all tree permitting questions.

 

SymGEO built the Tree Permitting site using ArcGIS Hub technology, which leverages ArcGIS Online mapping and graphic examples to help explain what type of permit is needed based on tree location, property boundaries, and tree size. The site also explains the benefits of the Income Contingent Hazardous Tree Mitigation Program that provides assistance with the removal of a hazardous tree on an owner’s private property.

As an example of “good to know” information, Washington D.C. is unique in that it has dedicated park space along most streets. This “parking” area is generally used for landscaping, retaining walls, trees, and other greenery. Just like on private land, all landscape elements (including trees) in this parking area are the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain. On the other hand, all trees located in the public “sidewalk” area are the responsibility of the city to maintain. However, these trees may be negatively impacted by development or construction projects and need to be considered before projects begin.

Talk to our industry experts today if your agency or organization is interested in community engagement with the power of Esri’s ArcGIS Hub or mapping with ArcGIS Online – SymGEO is here to help!

Tree Preservation

Did you know that trees are so important to Washington DC that they are protected by the Urban Forest Preservation Act and the Tree Canopy Protection Act? This means that before performing any excavation or construction activity on private property, it is important to consider any potential impacts to the trees on site. To facilitate this process, SymGEO is proud to help DDOT launch a new resource, the Tree Preservation Hub site, for property owners and construction companies to identify which trees need to be protected and how to best take care of them during home renovations or new construction projects.

tree preservation hub site

Built using ArcGIS Hub technology, this site leverages ArcGIS Online mapping and graphic examples to help explain what type of permit or protection plan is needed based on estimated tree size. Tree sizes were estimated using LiDAR processing, which in turn is used to estimate the critical root zone and structural root zones that need to be protected during construction. Modeling several hundred thousand trees at the same time has its challenges; however, ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Enterprise, Arcade expressions, and hosted image services were used to efficiently capture and share the modeling results.

Talk to our industry experts today if your agency or organization is interested in community engagement with the power of Esri’s ArcGIS Hub or data processing with ArcGIS Pro – SymGEO is here to help!

MoveDC Snapshot StoryMap

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has launched moveDC 2021, the long-range multi-modal transportation plan for Washington DC. As part of this launch, DDOT held Virtual Townhall meetings to discuss the transportation network’s existing conditions within the District and solicit resident input on DDOT’s goals and policies.

We were very excited to see our moveDC Snapshot StoryMap featured prominently during the Townhall meetings! Produced in partnership between SymGEO, Kimley-Horn, Foursquare ITP, and DDOT, this dynamic, interactive, and engaging method of presentation was perfect to capture the energy and data that has gone into moveDC 2021.

“Wow, this looks so good in StoryMap form! I love it!”

– DDOT Project Manager

We used the sidecar functionality of the latest ArcGIS StoryMap framework as a key component to deliver both guided, instructional narrative and interactive mapping at the same time. Mapping symbology was set in the ArcGIS Online web maps while complex legends were imported as images to facilitate visual interpretation of the data.

Talk to our industry experts today if your agency or organization is interested in community engagement with the power of Esri’s ArcGIS StoryMap technology – SymGEO is here to help!

Arbor Day

“Every day is Arbor Day in the City of Trees!” – these wise words from Dr. Kasey Yturralde, the Forest Health and Community Outreach Specialist at DDOT’s Urban Forest Division (UFD), are a great indicator of the passion and excitement possessed by the entire UFD team keeping our city green and beautiful.

With that in mind, SymGEO is pleased to announce a brand new interactive Arbor Day at Home resource for communities and individuals who share the same passion for our neighborhood trees. This dynamic website, built with ArcGIS Hub technology, showcases a number of best-practices when planting or caring for trees, as well as fun activities for the whole family in identifying local tree varieties.

Talk to our industry experts today if your agency or organization is interested in community engagement with the power of Esri’s ArcGIS Hub – SymGEO is here to help!

Forest Structure Analysis using LiDAR

SymGEO is pleased to announce the development of two new D.C. forest structure datasets created in partnership with DDOT Urban Forest Division, using LiDAR data managed by OCTO and the DC GIS program. The final version of this dataset will help Urban Foresters manage the canopy by providing important attributes including tree height, canopy width, and forest structure information.

A little background: LiDAR data is a digital cloud of millions of elevation points typically gathered by a low-flying airplane or ground-level vehicle. The elevation is recorded at every surface the measuring laser beams hit, so in the case of a forest, it will capture the top of the trees, some branches, as well as under-story vegetation and ground elevation. The LiDAR used for this project was also classified by the provider into a number of useful categories, including buildings, ground, and high / medium / low vegetation.

Using an innovative method, SymGEO used the ArcHydro toolset to create “catchment” areas for each tree, with tree locations being determined by the UFA Street Trees dataset. Each tree point was given an artificially high elevation value, and then all surrounding vegetation points around the tree point were examined. If the model determined that the vegetation points were connected to the tree, then it was included in the catchment. If an adjacent tree was found (indicated by adjacent vegetation elevation points increasing in height), then the catchment was divided into the two tree areas. Kind of technical, but maybe the graphic below will help 🙂

This catchment method worked quite well; however, it did suffer from capturing multiple trees in the same catchment. Fortunately, these cases were isolated quite easily be doing a spatial join between the catchment areas and street tree points, and identifying many-to-one joins.

For these cases, the catchment areas were converted into a grid of points, and the points were joined to the nearest tree. They were then back into areas (with the new tree ID as an attribute), effectively splitting up the area into smaller areas that had a one-to-one join with the tree points.

Once the tree area was established and cleaned up through manual inspection of outliers, attributes including tree height and average canopy width are assigned to each tree. These attributes will help the Urban Forestry Division manage the tree canopy even more effectively.

A secondary dataset was also produced using the LiDAR data that categorized areas into high, medium, or low vegetation, so some combination thereof. This helps the Urban Forestry Division prioritize areas for under-story plantings or the establishment of new urban canopies. This data set suffered a little from miscategorized LiDAR points, but it is a good starting point for an urban canopy structure dataset.

If you have access to a LiDAR dataset, and are interested in learning more about derivative products, contact us today – SymGEO is here to help!

Urban Forest Health

SymGEO is pleased to announce the launch of a Forest Health website for DDOT’s Urban Forest Division (UFD), designed to educate the community on how DDOT (and DC residents!) help keep the urban canopy vibrant, healthy, and productive. In a natural ecosystem, there are many checks and balances to keep a forest healthy. Urban environments present many challenges to trees, which include the urban heat island effect, degraded soil, limited growing space, and the introduction of exotic pests. This can lead to pest infestations and canopy damage if not caught quickly and mitigated efficiently. Fortunately, at the DDOT Urban Forestry Division, dedicated specialists prevent and respond to urban forest health issues on a daily basis.

“We are excited to share our forest health programs with the public in this new format. The new forest health website is dynamic and easy to use, it allows users to learn about pests and pathogens to look out for, while also giving them the opportunity to report their observations.”

– DDOT Urban Forestry Division

The new Forest Health site discusses a range of preventative measures the UFD takes against pests, including the Early Detection Rapid Response (EDRR) and the Cryptic Wood-Borer Insect (CWBI) programs, as well as how DC residents can identify and report invasive species.

The site leverages Esri’s ArcGIS Hub framework for design and mobile responsiveness and Esri’s Survey123 for ArcGIS for pest reporting. Information is gathered through the website, including pest species, life stage, or signs/symptoms, and is passed to the survey to help the reporting process along.

A Pest Vulnerability Matrix (PVM) is also presented which enables urban foresters to evaluate the overall vulnerability of the urban forest and evaluate the potential impacts of emerging pests and diseases.

Talk to our industry experts today if your agency or organization is interested in community engagement with the power of Esri’s ArcGIS Hub – SymGEO is here to help!

School Recycling: Urban Wood Reuse

Teaching kids the importance of nature, recycling, history, and culture is a lofty goal. Perhaps it’s a lesson that could be taught from the comfort of a bench constructed from recycled urban wood sourced from a local DC neighborhood rich in cultural history? This is now possible thanks to the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Urban Forestry Division (UFD)’s new initiative called “Urban Wood Reuse: for Schools“. This partnership with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) will provide DC Public Schools and public charter schools with wood products to improve school grounds at no cost.

SymGEO was excited to help the Urban Forestry Division (UFD) develop this initiative by using Esri’s ArcGIS Hub technology to establish two-way communication between the UFD and DC schools interested in “sitting on a piece of DC History”. The site shares knowledge and products from the UFD while gathering the school’s product ideas and requirements.

The site discusses the benefits of wood reuse, where the wood comes from, and the variety of products available including benches, stumps, or woodchips. It also provides a link to an order form as a convenient and easy way to request wood products.

The order form itself is powered by Esri’s Survey 123 for ArcGIS technology and is designed with step-logic where pertinent questions appear based on previous answers.

One of the exciting new aspects of an initiative is the ability for an audience member to sign into a community account and “follow” the initiative. This will grant them access to broadcasts about new events, updates, new product launches, and other useful information. Now, being able to show which schools are as excited as we are about this new initiative has never been easier!

Talk to our digital platform experts today if your agency or organization is interested in community engagement with the power of Esri ArcGIS Hub Initiatives – SymGEO is here to help!

DDOT Urban Forestry Division Hub

SymGEO is pleased to announce the launch of the DDOT Urban Forestry Division Hub! This new digital platform is designed to engage and interact with the DC community and provide information about the many services and resources offered by the Urban Forestry Division (UFD) of the District Department of Transportation (DDOT). This digital platform was built using Esri’s ArcGIS Hub technology, in coordination with OCTO and Open Data DC.

With a long history of caring for the extensive forest canopy in DC, the Urban Forestry group has meticulously assembled data sets and applications to help in their forest management mission and to communicate with a variety of audiences. With the introduction of Esri’s ArcGIS Hub technology, there is finally a digital platform perfectly designed to tie all the pieces together into a cohesive story. SymGEO was honored to be approached by the Urban Forestry group to help them design, configure, and deploy this comprehensive digital solution.

 

“SymGEO is a remarkably flexible and responsive company. They listen carefully to requirements and deftly blend customer vision with technological capabilities.”

– Earl Eutsler, DDOT Urban Forestry Division, Associate Director / State Forester

The urban forest story begins with a look to the past and introduces the audience to the long history and important role of trees in DC.

history

The story then turns to the impressive variety of trees available for public enjoyment and leverages several applications and digital stories that the urban forestry group has already developed.

canopy

The flagship data set of the Urban Forest group is the Public Tree Map which elegantly displays a tremendous amount of current information about the urban tree canopy. Links are provided to both the map and the underlying data for the community to use and explore.

public tree map

Work orders, permits, inspections, plantings, removals… there’s a lot going on in Urban Forestry! Fortunately, many data sets and reporting mechanisms have been developed to keep track of it all. These have now been shared with the public under one digital roof for a better understanding of agency scope and status.

urban forestry maps

Of course, what fun are statistics if they can’t be updated on the fly as new information is entered into databases behind the scenes?

stats

Finally, links to tools and resources are provided for partners and stakeholders to begin making their own applications and discoveries with DC government data.

tools

Talk to our industry experts if your agency or organization is interested in leveraging the power of Esri’s ArcGIS Hub – SymGEO is here to help!