Open Urban Forests

Establishing the First National View of Urban Forestry Geospatial Data in Canada

Ensuring urban forestry geospatial data is easily findable, discoverable, and interoperable

Open Urban Forests – Establishing the First National View of Urban Forestry Geospatial Data in Canada is an innovative project established by the CIF-IFC, enabling access to urban forestry geospatial data across Canada and open access resources through the creation of an interactive learning hub. Data from this hub can be used to support decision-making and measure the continuous effects of climate change and other trends on urban forests across Canada.

About the project

Prior to the Open Urban Forests – Establishing the First National View of Urban Forestry Geospatial Data project, Canada lacked a centralized national hub for monitoring tree cover, tree planting, carbon storage, and long-term trends in urban forests. Additionally, Open Data Portals across Canada were neither centralized, uniform, or interconnected.

During the initial phase of the Open Urban Forests project, municipalities with over 50,000 in population were selected as the benchmark for this project. Any municipalities that had Open Data Portals containing open access urban forest geospatial data/or urban forest geospatial data they were willing to share was compiled and standardized (as the data and attributes collected (i.e. species name, DBH, tree height, etc.) varied among municipalities).

Compiled data was then centralized and made available on this interactive learning hub, where the general public and/or students, forest practitioners and other professionals in allied fields can learn more about Canada’s urban forests and download the data for more detailed analysis in any geographic information system GIS program. The hub provides an easy-to-use interface to explore and utilize the data effectively.

The interactive learning hub developed through this project offers a number of benefits to stakeholders in the urban forestry sphere and allied fields including GIS, technology, geography, planning, architecture and others. Data from this hub can be used to support decision-making and measure the continuous effects of climate change and other trends on urban forests across Canada.

The project encompasses three key objectives:

1

Conduct a review of Canadian cities with open access urban forestry geospatial data.

2

Develop a National Advisory Committee of urban forestry and geospatial experts to create best management strategies for how urban forestry geospatial data can be showcased.

3

Finalize best management practices to collect, compile and standardize data from major cities across Canada, and create a learning hub where this data can be centralized.

Interactive learning hub

The national interactive learning hub displays urban forestry geospatial data including tree species, location and diameter at breast height from municipalities with over 50,000 in population. The hub features a user-friendly, interactive map and data can be downloaded by users for further analysis and also shared directly from the platform.

The innovative design of the hub allows for the integration of data over time, in order to track long-term trends. To date, the national interactive learning hub features centralized data from
8 different provinces in Canada.

British Columbia

Alberta

Saskatchewan

Manitoba

Ontario

Quebec

New Brunswick

Nova Scotia

“This project is the first of its kind in Canada, and has been developed to accommodate further innovation through an expanded scope going forward.”
Mark Pearson

Executive Director, Canadian Institute of Forestry

Thank you to our project partners and supporters

To complete the project, the CIF-IFC partnered with Sparkgeo Consulting Inc. and the University of British Columbia Urban Forestry Program, while working in collaboration with municipalities across Canada and a National Advisory Committee made up of a network of stakeholders. Throughout the project’s progress, the Committee provided valuable feedback and guidance on deliverables.

Project partners:

Project National Advisory Committee:

This two-year project (October 2022-March 2024) received funding support
from Natural Resources Canada, under the 2 Billion Trees Program.