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San Francisco turns to Open Source for mapping Urban Forest

San Fransisco, USA, 30 March 2007: The City of San Francisco is now starting to find out how an open source software can be used to solve environmental issues, by turning to MapGuide Open Source software for use in its “urban forest” initiative.

Earlier this month, during a set of events in honor of Arbor Day, the city launched a new Web site aimed at allowing municipal workers, the general public, and members of a not-for-profit environmental group pitch in on efforts at computerized tracking of San Francisco’s trees.

The online San Francisco Urban Forest Mapping System is the upshot of a plan by Mayor Gavin Newsom to add 5,000 more trees a year to the city’s sidewalks, said Charlie Crocker, Product Manager, Autodesk.

The new urban forest mapping system uses an application, created with the help of Autodesk and outside consulting firm Online Mapping Solutions, which is based on the “light” open source edition of Autodesk’s MapGuide Enterprise.

Urban forest initiatives are now under way in growing numbers of cities, and their goals extend way beyond the obvious aesthetic benefits of trees, according to Crocker.

San Francisco’s new online tree mapping system is geared to helping different “stakeholders” in tree planting to collaborate. “The mayor’s Green Initiative is getting planned and managed by a dozen different agencies. There’s even a ‘director of greening,'” Crocker said, in an interview with LinuxPlanet.

On the new Web site at , one can search for a tree by street, species, planting date, or “organization with responsibility for tree management. It is also possible to get instant access to the care history of a specific tree.

Like MapQuest Enterprise, MapQuest Studio, and several other commercial mapping products from Autodesk, the open source edition of MapQuest uses FDO (feature data object), a GIS data format originally developed by Autodesk.