San Francisco using new online tool for mapping trees

Last week the Mayor of San Francisco, announced new online tool developed by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), in cooperation with Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) and the City of San Francisco, to catalogue the city’s trees.

“You can add the trees around your home, office, school, or local café to the Urban Forest Map, or you can use it to learn more about the trees in your neighborhood,” said Amber Bieg, manager of the project. “It’s like a census for trees.”

Anyone with a web browser, whether on a mobile device, laptop or desktop computer, can add information about specific trees to the Urban Forest Map, such as their location, species, size, and health. That data can then be used by urban foresters and city planners to better manage trees in specific areas, track and combat tree pests and diseases, and plan future tree plantings. Climatologists can use it to better understand the effects of urban forests on climates, and students can use it to learn about the role trees play in the urban ecosystem.

Because the Urban Forest Map is built with open-source software, and leverages the growing power of geographic information systems (commonly known as GIS tools), it will likely have uses beyond those currently envisioned. Technologists can “layer” the tree data with other kinds of geographic data to illuminate or reveal aspects of an area or region that might otherwise be overlooked.

San Francisco is the first city to use the Urban Forest Map; others are expected to follow. “Million Tree” campaigns are taking-off around the nation, and this tool enables the on-the-ground community information sharing vital to the success of such campaigns.

See the tool in action at Urban Forest Map

[SOURCE: SFGOV.com] via Inhabitat

Pakistan mosque installs country’s first urban rainwater harvesting system

The Faisal Mosque complex installed Pakistan’s first urban rainwater harvesting system has been installed in the capital city Islamabad. The system was funded by the city’s Capital Development Authority, and will provide clean drinking water while recharging the local water table for the city’s nearly 1 million residents.

Known as the Pilot Rainwater Harvesting Project, the initiative was developed in collaboration with the United Nations Development Program and the Pakistan Council of Research for Water Resource.

[SOURCE: Circle of Blue Water News]

Autodesk releases AutoCAD freestyle

Autodesk recently announced the availability of AutoCAD Freestyle software, a new, easy-to-use application for 2D drawing and sketching that specialty contractors and do-it-yourselfers can use to create professional-looking drawings, layouts and plans.

I think this will be good for people who are just starting their landscape architecture firms or design and build company and can’t afford the $1200-$4500 for AutoCad LT or AutoCAD Full Version for every user. Some users could do the basic design and sketch work on Freestyle and than have someone finish off the full design in LT or full CAD.

Currently its on special short time offer of $49.00. The full retail price will be $149.

For more information go to the AutoCAD Freestyle site.

* UPDATE  [14 may 2010]*

The price for freestyle is now $79USD for a limited period before it goes to full RRP of $149USD

Queens Quay get go ahead – WEST 8

The plan to redesign Queens Quay, the backbone of Toronto’s waterfront revitalization plans, finally has the go-ahead.

The provincial government approved an environmental assessment yesterday for a pedestrian-friendly promenade. Construction of the first phase, an 800-metre section, should begin early next year.

The plan involves cutting the lanes of traffic from four to two, creating a wider boulevard for people to walk on, adding grass in between the streetcar tracks and extending the Martin Goodman Trail through the busiest stretch of Queens Quay.

The TTC’s light rapid transit lines will remain where they are. The three-kilometre project extends from Parliament Street to Spadina Avenue and will be completed in three stages.

An initial $48 million has been set aside by Waterfront Toronto. That will go towards reconfiguring the entire three-kilometre boulevard and building the first section, which is expected to take 18 months. The remaining phases are dependent on funding.

[SOURCE: WEST 8]

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UK Sustainable Community to appear in TV show

24dash.com recently reported that Willmott Dixon Housing will appear in a TV show documenting the development of the community over one year. The community was designed by Glenn Howells Architects, and landscape architects Studio Engleback, the Triangle is part of Kevin McCloud’s vision to create housing supports sustainable lifestyles, with open public spaces, rainwater recycling and kitchen garden areas where residents can grow their own vegetables.

Read more @ the [SOURCE: 24dash.com - Willmott Dixon to build Kevin McCloud's sustainable community for new TV show]

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