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Treework partners of winning bid, creating the world's largest tree database

An arial view of a countryside area, populated with different trees and a single road.

Developing the largest and highest quality urban tree map in the world

We are delighted to announce that our work on an innovative and collaborative project to deliver the largest and highest quality urban tree map in the world has won funding from the government.

Treework Environmental Practice worked with the Open University and Forest Research to develop the proposition. When the project is completed, the open source resource will be available for others to use for research and to analyse urban tree populations.

The successful bid was one of 10 accepted by the government’s Geospatial Commission. It was part of a highly competitive process to win funding for unique projects that will offer innovative ways to use crowdsourcing and location-based data.

An evolving map of urban tree populations

One of the aims of Communitree is to provide an evolving and growing map of urban tree populations that we hope will be invaluable in planning how the environments in which they’re located are managed and developed in the future.

We are one of the UK’s leading arboricultural specialists with a  wealth of experience and expertise. We specialise in the collection and application of survey data for the management of large populations of trees over 30 years. And we’re experts in the designing systems for digital presentation and analysis of that data. This certainly added significant weight to the proposal. We’re not only excited that the system will be publicly available, but we’re also delighted to be working with such partners on such an important project.

Tech and trees

Through our development of the MyTrees database and Geographical Information System (GIS) which we have designed and built as part of another collaborative project, to enable efficient and accurate tree survey information capture and analysis, we have nurtured software design and testing expertise in Treework. 

The Communitree project is a great opportunity for us to apply this expertise to the creation of a system that will provide tangible benefits for communities, environmental research and strategic planning.  

Simon Parfey, Treework’s business development manager said: 

Innovation has always been a key driver for our business and we have been concerned for some time to work with others to develop standards for data capture that will support our sector to be fit for the coming decades. 

This ties in with some of our existing innovation streams, such as modelling asset value of trees over time and 3D modelling of trees for Building Information Management (BIM). 

Forest Research and Open University have proven track records as innovators, and we cannot wait to start working with them to deliver what will be amazing public research and planning resources.

The Minister for Implementation, Oliver Dowden, said: 

We are investing in location-based data technology to improve public services and the way people experience them. I’m delighted to see such innovative ideas come forward, which will help people in their everyday lives and keep the UK at the forefront of this exciting new technology.

Our tree passion

The national community and environmental sector benefits that will be derived by the Communitree project are important for us. They align with the work that we have been doing for years, from our Innovations in Arboriculture Seminar series, the launch of our not-for-profit Sustainable Soils Alliance to the launch of the Treework Library a few weeks ago. 

For us, at Treework, our threads of tree data collection and GIS expertise, innovation, knowledge sharing and collaboration are drawn together by the Communitree project and we are excited to be a key part of an amazing team.

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