The map is only as accurate as the people that get involved. Signing in allows a user to post the location of a tree and even the species, Thomas reports.
"'Before this, people were kind of doing [tree counts] on their own, and there wasn't a central mechanism for them to be in one place,' says Patrick Morgan, Philadelphia Parks and Recreation spokesman. 'This is a great tool for people to see how their contributions will, over time, help the urban forest grow, which I think is pretty cool.'"
Robert Cheetham, owner of software engineering busines Azavea, and PhillyTreeMap's creator, hopes to find how trees play into storm-water management, carbon sequestration, heat effects, and real estate, Thomas reports.
"So far, more than 144,000 trees in the city proper appear on the map - neon green dots lining the urban grid. Click on one, and you'll get information on trunk diameter, height, and "yearly eco impact," a service that aims to tabulate the dollar value of each tree in terms of environmental benefits such as greenhouse-gas reductions and water usage."