The City in a Forest

We are a team of three past or present Georgia Tech students. Caroline Foster recently graduated with a BS in Computational Media and will be starting her Master’s in Human-Computer Interaction in the fall. Previously, she worked at BMW designing future human-machine interactions for vehicles and at AT&T developing connected car concepts. Sanat Moningi also recently graduated with a BS in Computer Science and will begin work full time in the fall. I (Jordan Belknap) am a second year Master’s student in Computer Science. That being said, I am actually very new to the field of CS having completed my undergraduate degree in the field of geology.

We are working with individuals from Georgia Tech, The City of Atlanta, and Trees Atlanta. Bistra Dilkina and Tony Giarrusso are both professors at Georgia Tech and have been great resources for all things project related, which includes technical and motivational support. We will be working with Kathy Evans from the City of Atlanta and Alex Beasley from Trees Atlanta who will help us better understand the needs of the city and how to best address them.

Kathy and Alex are heavily involved in the planting and maintenance of trees in Atlanta. This process involves a surprising number of organizations (see image below) and it can be challenging to keep track of all of the work that has been done and that needs to be done. Currently, it is not possible to quantify the benefits of planting trees in a given location. This information would help improve planting policies and decrease time spent in the field looking for planting locations.




Being in the early stage of development, we have quite a few ideas and many lofty goals. We would like to work on the following projects:

  1. Create an interactive map of the tree canopy broken down by tree species (see NYC Street Trees)
  2. Create an interactive map that allows the user to update information on a per tree basis that is accessible to the necessary organizations
  3. Create a model, based on variables such as air quality and energy consumption, that quantifies the value of planting a tree in a given location.

We have been exploring the tools we have available, and have created two interactive maps of the Atlanta Beltline and the entire city using Leaflet- the trees are color coded by species in the map on the left. We are working on cleaning and compiling the tree data from different sources to create the most accurate and up to date map as possible.


We will be meeting with Tony and Bistra on Friday to continue scoping out our project’s future, and hopefully see Kathy and Alex next week!