Google Introduces New Tool to Help Cities Beat the Summer Heat
Google has introduced a new tool called the Tree Canopy Lab that can help cities plant more trees. Tree Canopy Lab will use aerial imagery to map the green roof of a city and use AI to suggest where more trees should be planted. Buildings tend to trap heat during summers. Tree Canopy Lab can help lower the temperature in vulnerable areas by identifying areas where tree cover can be increased. Tree Canopy Lab is an initiative of Google Sustainability and will be piloted in Los Angeles.
According to a study by From NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the heat waves in Los Angeles have become more intense and frequent. Tree Canopy Lab also found that more than half of Los Angeles residents live in places where tree cover is less than 10 percent of their neighborhoods. Google’s Tree Canopy Lab aims to make a difference by inspiring people to take action to reduce emissions.
Tree Canopy Lab incorporates aerial imagery and Google’s artificial intelligence to discover tree locations. Google uses airplanes to collect aerial images from around the world to google maps and Google Earth. The same image data will be used in Tree Canopy Lab to estimate tree cover in cities, starting with Los Angeles.
The information gathered on tree cover will be sent to an interactive map with additional data including population density, heat risk, land use and neighborhood boundaries. By gathering all the information, Tree Canopy Lab will be able to indicate which areas are most vulnerable to high temperatures.
Google says data for many more cities is on the way. The Google service is free to use and the maps will be updated regularly. Any urban planner interested in using the tool has the option of communicating with Google through a to form that the company has posted alongside today’s announcement.
A similar tree mapping tool was launched Tuesday by the American Forests conservation organization, with the support of Microsoft. This tool has been tested in Maricopa County, Arizona, Rhode Island, and the San Francisco Bay Area.