Case Study: The City of Grand Junction, Colorado USA
Accurate and fast tree canopy assessments that fit tight budgets
“In a smaller municipality with tighter operating budgets, there is little opportunity to fund traditional large scale canopy assessments, and the updates PlanIT Geo made to TreePlotter CANOPY opened up a new opportunity to make that goal happen.”
With 62,000 residents, Grand Junction is the largest city on the western slope of Colorado. However, it is relatively small compared to the major cities on the eastern slope, and like most small municipalities, they have a tight operating budget. For Rob Davis, Grand Junction City Forester, this meant that funding a traditional tree canopy analysis of the city’s 17,000 public trees was an unlikely prospect. From his time as a forester in other large cities, Rob had seen how tree canopy information can be an indispensable tool for educating government leadership and advocating for budget and code changes. It allowed him to back up discussions about urban forest benefits with accurate numbers, which reframed the conversations as ones of reality, instead of feelings.
That is where the new and improved TreePlotter CANOPY created an opportunity. PlanIT Geo can now deliver tree canopy and land cover data analyzed using artificial intelligence and machine learning via an annual subscription service. This lowers and distributes the cost of a tree canopy analysis, which puts it at a manageable price point for Grand Junction. With the canopy analysis complete, Rob plans to put the new data to work justifying changes to municipal code, incorporating more urban forest inclusion in future comprehensive plans, and informing public outreach campaigns.
Our team interviewed Rob Davis, City Forester, to learn more about Grand Junction’s Parks and Recreation Forestry Division and how tree canopy data informs and supports their work.
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