Google has released its Tree Canopy Lab to help to determine which areas need more planted trees to curb high-temperatures and other environmental hazards

Google has been working on introducing new tools and features in Google Maps and Google Earth that can benefit the environment more and more. No one can deny the fact that trees are an important part of our environment. They not only help in balancing out high temperatures, but they also provide various other benefits to our surroundings. Different drives and campaigns are being launched all over the world to urge people to plant more trees to gain maximum benefits.

Now, recently, Google has released its Tree Canopy Lab, which helps in the development of policies and strategies to grow more trees in the areas that have been identified with more heat-risk and fewer trees. Basically, Google uses planes to pinpoint or collect aerial imagery all over the world to estimate the canopy coverage that trees provide across cities. Google uses this imagery and combines it with 3D digital models to restructure a vegetation probability model. There is a certain threshold value, above which is an area that is identified as a tree canopy. This analysis also looks into the infrared data, and this model is used to generate overall tree coverage estimates for different areas individually.

Currently, the Tree Canopy Lab is working across the city of Los Angeles, and these aerial imageries point out areas where the heat-island is higher, and the canopy coverage of trees is lesser.

Google collects all this data mainly through the spring, summer, and fall seasons. Apart from the aerial imagery, The Tree Canopy Lab also imports public data from external sources too. This set of data includes information about areas that are at a higher heat risk or the areas that have a dense population, data about land use, and neighborhood boundary data for the city of Los Angeles.

Through all this information, the Tree Canopy Lab can provide insights into the need for trees by comparing tree coverage in various neighborhoods of Los Angeles, combine the heat index and density of the population to identify the most vulnerable areas. This Tree Canopy Lab can also look into an area or neighborhood’s total tree coverage, estimate their average heat health index, and provide average data for population density per area.

All this data and the Tree Canopy Lab’s pre-calculated visualizations can be used to understand how heat index and population density can correlate with tree coverage, and how more trees can impact the overall situation of an area in a city.

This is a wonderful way to determine which areas need more tree cover and which areas are at a higher heat risk. The Tree Canopy Lab has found out that more than 50% of the citizens of LA have less than 10% of tree coverage, and around 44% of the areas in LA are subject to extreme heat risk.

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