In the United States, urban forestry efforts are sustained through efforts from individuals, businesses, philanthropic organizations, and government agencies across local, state, and national levels. The i-Tree Tools suite of software promotes the use of, peer-reviewed science to explain the benefits that trees provide in a method intended for the general public. This thesis shares the computer-specific knowledge collected during the design, implementation, and continued expansion of i-Tree Landscape.
The i-Tree Landscape application is a web-browser based, online, geographic information system, referred to as a web-GIS app. The "pages" of the web-app are part of a system of software libraries and services, along with dedicated hardware, which were specifically researched, compared, selected, and optimally configured for their roles in supporting the system as a whole.
This work will also briefly touch upon the open source libraries and services running in the Landscape system, as well as, some of the decisions they influenced with acquiring hardware to support its deployment. Delivering the data and formulas associated with the benefits of trees for the entire geographic area of the United States becomes difficult over the internet, especially when it must be achieved via a non-expert interface. To manage this, the flow of the application is separated into five, non-sequential steps, prefixed with a landing page, and postfixed with a publishable report. This partitioning helps with code responsibility separation, as well.
In addition to producing a tailorable report for describing the benefits of trees, the primary purpose of the application is to help prioritize tree planting efforts. This is well needed by foresters to help allocate for popular practice of mass tree plantings. The planning is done via a customizable model utilizing nearly all of the possible attributes as weighting options. The regional aggregations for this are available to users through nine boundary layers, most notably including counties, block groups, and watersheds.
The research supporting the data on trees is from working directly with the authors of peer-reviewed research from the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service laboring at the Northern Research Station at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York.
i-Tree Landscape has succeeded in becoming a science dissemination facility, by the use of information visualization, with the purpose of making decisions that promote urban forestry stewardship through modern web-GIS, and data processing techniques.