The Village of Morton Grove, IL recently undertook the challenge of creating a database of tree assets in their village, locating them and attributing these locations with size and species. Doing this allows for the village to conduct better asset management, including predicting more accurate maintenance times and creating a budget for tree operations. For this project, the Morton Grove Public Works staff recognized the value in collecting this data in a form that could easily be consumed by the village’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for display and analysis in a spatial environment.
The project started with department staff collecting an inventory of trees currently in the field, marking down information such as closest address, species, and canopy cover diameter, while also keeping these fields consistent with their internal department needs as well as with what was required for integration with a GIS database. This effectively doubled the efficiency of their collection efforts and allowed for a quick turnaround of the data being available in GIS for mapping and other analysis. Now that they have a complete inventory of trees in a spatially enabled environment, Morton Grove is able to accurately predict and plan out projects involving trees more effectively using the actual location of the tree in the field.
Using the tree location information stored in GIS, staff can now view a tree inventory layer in the village’s web-based mapping application, MapOffice™, represented by species, size, or any other information that was collected in the field. This saves staff time by preventing unnecessary trips into the field to identify this information, as well as providing information to assist with things like developmental permit reviews and other village processes. By taking a planned data collection process and integrating it early into a GIS environment, the Village of Morton Grove was able to increase the efficiency of their tree management efforts and ultimately gain a complete picture of their tree assets within the village.