Friday, November 18, 2011

Discovering and Mapping Late Fall Tree Colors

Contributing writer - Tom Buckley, Director of Technical Services and Research

Driving out to Casey Tree Farm in Berryville, Virginia recently with Jim Woodworth and Mark Buscaino, I benefited from the their understanding of the interplay between tree species and the landscape. For a city kid, the organization of fall colors in a country landscape is novel: the white bark of sycamore trees; the creeks and waterways they hide.

In D.C., the street trees are somewhat divorced from aspects of their habitat, and the link between their species and their “landscape” is more artificial. However, the arborists at the Urban Forestry Administration in D.C. have kept meticulous records of the location of their work, allowing novices to track the colors that we notice in passing.

To better understand some of the trees I noticed around the District, I created a map from the UFA’s street tree data. In the UFA’s dataset, each individual street tree is a data point on the map and each is categorized by species. We are able to filter the results so that only certain species are displayed for a custom map view. I filtered the street tree map to display only those known to keep their leaves into the late-fall and winter.

Ginkgo trees are yellow, pin oaks red, and Chinese elms purple. Click on individual points on the map to view Street View or learn more about the species. Navigate around the map to see where these street trees are planted throughout D.C.


Anonymous said...

This is the most useful thing that I will never use.

Anonymous said...

Where can I find this data set?

Anonymous said...

the raw data are available from the DCGIS data catalog. please email me at if thats not what you are looking for.