The Urban Forest Map App (Mapp?)

I’ve talked before about how much I love the Urban Tree Key tool that helps you identify common street trees in San Francisco. And guest blogger Ellyn Shea has talked about how this tool was developed as well as what lies ahead (more trees!). Well, one of those exciting new features is now here: an app!

Yep, you can now access all the same information via this handy tool. Well, in theory.


I’ve been playing around with it for a few days and have found that it can be a little, er… buggy. Which bummed me out. You have to zoom in on the map in order to make the tree pins big enough to touch with your finger, and sometimes it doesn’t load very quickly (or occasionally at all).

I also found that the address search bar had a difficult time turning up results, but this may not end up being a huge issue since the whole idea is that, by enabling location services, your phone can tell you where you are faster than you can.

It’s pretty neat to just be able to poke your screen and read more about the tree you’re looking at. That tree you see above is the one literally right outside my window!

In order to add or edit trees on the map, you do need to have an account created, which you should absolutely do, because the awesomeness of the map depends entirely on regular people updating it with accurate information.

I’m still a real amateur at tree identification, so I’ll still be spending a lot of time on the Urban Tree Key (the Urban Forest Map’s companion tool) trying to figure out exactly what tree it is I’m looking at. If only there were a really great app for that (and don’t tell me about Leafsnap, pffft) I’d be all set.

Anyway, in sum, the Urban Tree Key app is still a great and very neat tool. I’ll definitely be using it, and I hope some of the kinks get worked out in future updates.

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