FAQs


Why is this new version of the Urban Forest Map different from the previous one?

Since the original Urban Forest Map was released in early 2010, technology and our tree data have evolved!
We’ve made two big changes: (1) a new look and (2) a lot less data. (1) The new look reflects many improvements in the underlying technology, making the Map tablet-ready, easier to use, faster and more flexible. We’ve also linked the Urban Forest Map to the larger OpenTreeMap community, so we’ll see new features regularly and better bug fixes. (2) San Francisco is in the midst of a citywide tree inventory, so for the first time in many years we’ll have significant new information on the state of our urban forest. Over the next year or so, we’ll roll out the tree data one neighborhood at a time.


I added trees to the old Map. What happened to them?

Don't worry! We greatly appreciate the work you've done, and we've preserved all the data entered by users like you. We'll be returning that information to the new version of the Map as soon as possible. And we hope you’ll keep contributing! We’ve switched to a new platform, so you’ll need to create a new account.


Can I add trees to the Map?

Absolutely! To do so, first create an account, check your email to confirm the account, and then log in. Start adding trees by clicking the Add a Tree button in the top right.


Why does the map only cover San Francisco?

The Urban Forest Map is supported by Friends of the Urban Forest to help us carry out our mission of promoting a larger, healthier urban forest as part of San Francisco’s green infrastructure through community planting, tree care, education, and advocacy. Click here to see other cities that offer OpenTreeMaps.


What are sidewalk gardens and why are they on the Map?

In collaboration with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Friends of the Urban Forest replaces concrete sidewalks with thriving sidewalk gardens to capture stormwater and reduce the burden on our aging combined storm-sewer system while beautifying San Francisco neighborhoods and protecting the environment. We’re featuring them on the Map because they provide valuable ecosystem services and bring more nature to our city -- two things they have in common with trees. And of course, sidewalk gardens often have trees planted within them. You can find more information here.

Sure, I like trees, but what good is all this? Why should I participate?


Your participation will improve our urban environment and make our city a more green and liveable place. The information added to the Map will be used by urban forest managers, landscape architects, and planners to plan for future growth and planting opportunities, improve wildlife habitat, maximize ecosystem services, and grow a strong and healthy urban forest. While you're contributing to those goals, you'll also be making your own environment better.


Where does the Eco Impact data come from?

All of the numbers and dollar values for the ecosystem services provided by trees come from the Forest Service's iTree Streets software tool. For more information, visit the Forest Service's Urban Ecosystems and Social Dynamics Program and iTree Tools iTree Tools.


What if my tree species isn't among the options?

The Urban Forest Map currently includes several hundred species, but it is certainly not exhaustive. Contact us if yours isn't on the list and we'll add it as quickly as possible. (This takes a bit of time because new species have to be incorporated into the ecosystem services matrix.)


Why do you ask questions about things like sidewalk damage and utility lines?

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection offers grants to communities for conducting tree inventories and requires certain information to be included. We think (and they agree) that the Urban Forest Map is a good tool both for doing the inventories and for maintaining the data, so we have included any fields they require.


What do you mean by “open-source”?

The data, the software source code, and the website html/css code we use are licensed under the Affero General Public License copyright terms. They are all freely available to anyone who agrees to follow the terms of the GPL license.


I would really like to bring an OpenTreeMap project to another city. What can I do to get started?

Visit the OpenTreeMap website for more information on different ways to move forward.