Google Street View
When Google Street View was released just over a decade ago many of us likely took a peek at our homes, forgot about it, and have used it maybe a handful of times since. Today some might use it to confirm an address before punching it into their GPS, but it’s also an interesting and useful tool for our work in the watershed, particularly urban forestry. Over the last 10+ years, Google has re-photographed numerous streets, creating a photographic timeline. The timeline allows us to go back and see how current conditions compare with conditions from a decade ago.
One of the interesting things we’ve been exploring is the growth of trees we planted or helped plant in the watershed, over the course of the last 15 years. With the timeline, we can go back to a series of dates and screen capture the view from that year. When we compile these individual images into animated GIFs it provides a moving timeline of that location. These GIFs not only show the difference between planting and today but also how the tree and surrounding area have evolved. Not only do the trees grow, but the amount of shade produced, or the number of cars parked nearby has changed as well, showing some of the benefits of trees. There’s nothing scientific about this process, and it’s something you can easily do at home.
Rowland Connector – Hybrid Elms (Planted 2005)
Wallace Ave. – Red Maple (Planted 2008)
Biddle Ave. – Japanese Zelkova (Planted 2011)
Center St. – American Elm (Planted 2011)
Also useful in the stream – Nine Mile Run from Commercial Ave (2007-2016)
And one of our Green Stormwater Infrastructure sites – Oakwood-Batavia (2012-2017)
Urban Forestry Takeaway
These timelines show just how quickly trees can begin to provide significant benefits, as long as they are getting some care and attention. Planting a tree now isn’t just an investment for future generations, it’s an investment that will begin to show benefits in the near future.
If you’re interested in planting a tree in your yard, contact us about the Citizen Tree Project.
If you’d like to plant a street tree, contact Urban Forestry Coordinator, Jan Raether, about TreeVitalize grants.