Most Public Works and Forestry departments know the magnitude and attention to detail that must be paid to tree plantings each year. What locations should we plant trees in? What is the most efficient route to take? How do we stay within budget and get the project done in a timely manner?
In the spring and fall of each year, the City of Park Ridge must answer these questions to coordinate and manage tree planting in the parkway. The planting process is conducted by contractors and can include 100 to 300 trees, depending on the fiscal year and money available. Because of the vast number of trees paired with the extensive planting area, coordinating and managing an efficient tree planting project can be a difficult task.
How Trees Are Planted
In the past, planters worked off only a map of the planting locations, without any directions regarding how to order the plantings. This was problematic for Village staff needing to work on trees following a tree planting, as staff would not know where trees had been or were going to be planted next. GIS was able to simplify and streamline this process by creating a map of the optimal route planters should follow. This helps Village staff to better manage the planting process and know which locations to visit.
Efficiency, Collaboration, and Technology
The route is created using a tree location address list provided by Public Works and ESRI’s Network Analyst extension, a tool shared within the GIS Consortium. The mapped addresses are ordered to reduce mileage and drive time in the overall route.
These tasks work together to create a systematic and efficient workflow for the planters and city staff, reducing the time and effort spent on coordinating the bi-yearly tree planting. To further aid in management of the tree planting process, the time it takes to plant a tree could be incorporated into the analysis. This would give all involved a better idea of how many trees should be expected to be planted per day. Such a process and workflow is not limited to planting trees but could be created for other projects as well.
Contact a specialist to discuss ways in which this process could be applied to improve a workflow!
Take the Lead
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Author: Louise Hahn, GIS Specialist