US: Azavea (formerly Avencia) announced that it was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant of USD 90,000 by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop a prototype of a new data management software that will assist communities with the inventory and maintenance of urban forests.
Working with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS), the City of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), Azavea will use the Phase I SBIR funds to test the feasibility of developing OpenTreeMap, an urban forestry tree inventory and management tool to support collaborative data collection and tree management by municipal government, non-profit organisations, students and volunteers. The company will develop OpenTreeMap web application as a wiki-style data editing software that will enable people to participate collaboratively in the tree inventory process.
The Phase I project will focus on development of a prototype in Philadelphia, but if the approach proves successful, Azavea will be eligible to apply for Phase II funding that will enable extension of the system to any location in the world.
Azavea has previously received SBIR Phase I and II awards from the National Science Foundation, the US Department of Education and the US Department of Agriculture. OpenTreeMap is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the US Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No 2010-33610-20937 of the SBIR grants programme.