Integrating a tree inventory into GIS to streamline daily workflows


In 2013, the Village of Lincolnshire, IL hired The Davey Tree Expert
Company to collect an inventory of all Village-owned trees. This
inventory included trees not only in public rights-of-way, but also in
all nine public parks managed by the Public Works Department. When
completed, the Geographic Information System (GIS)-compatible database
held a total of 6,180 trees, stumps, and planting locations, all with
varying maintenance needs. Since the end product was GIS-compatible,
the on-site specialist was able to generate a number of products quickly
that support the daily workflows of both the Village arborist and the
Village Parks manager.

The biggest impact on daily workflow was the addition of custom
layers for display in the village’s interactive, browser-based mapping
application, MapOffice™ Advanced. Working with the Village arborist, the
GIS specialist created two layers: one that shows all Village-owned
trees, and one that highlights ash trees by their surveyed condition.
The arborist uses these layers daily in place of making multiple field
checks to confirm existing conditions. The ash tree layer also assists
the arborist in prioritizing the removal of trees that have become
hazards as a result of damage from the emerald ash borer.

While Davey Tree offers a software package for managing its tree
inventories, Lincolnshire made the decision to manage its inventory with
the GIS software it already owned. Not only does this save money on
additional product licenses, but it also shifts the workload of data
maintenance from part-time employees to the GIS specialist with
expertise in data management. Instead of maintaining a separate
database, Village staff reports updates to the specialist, who manages
the data as a normal part of the GIS program’s workflow.