GEO 106’s Full Tree Inventory of UWFox

This fall, for the GEO 106 classwide project, we were asked by UWFox dean Dr. Martin Rudd to take an inventory of trees on campus in support of the TreeCampus USA initiative. Each group was responsible for mapping approximately a quarter of the over 500 trees on the campus in two formats: a shapefile with attributes, and a Sketchup file that could be added to the existing UWFox Google Earth model.

Group Efforts

Groups used a combination of GPS measurements, remote sensing, and ground-truthing to create the models. Coordination amongst the groups was specifically demanded in the project requirements sheets because the data was to combine seamlessly with that from other groups.

Unfortunately, we hit an unforeseen roadblock along the way that took too long to figure a workaround (if you were wondering, there is apparently no way to import any traditional GIS datafiles, including Google Earth files, into SketchUp successfully). We still finished the project before the end of the semester, we just finished too late to give the class presentation to the school.

So, the absolute least I could do to allow the students to share their work is to post their submissions here. Their posters will be printed and hung in the hallway for part of this semester as well.

Students organized themselves into these groups, and together worked out the boundaries and group territories amongst themselves. How they divided the campus:

So, how’d they do? Let’s take a look…

Group One

(Students: Matt Anderson, Zach Aschauer, Sarah Fritz, Rebekah Kallstrom, Jose Mendoza)

Group One’s Shapefile:

(Larger version)
Group One’s section included 133 tree records. Though it was the smallest in terms of size and least complicated in terms of buildings to work around, this portion of campus contains a particularly dense “Nature Study Area” in its western half.

Group One’s SketchUp file:

(Larger version)

Group one used a three-dimensional library of trees on SketchUp to model their section for Google Earth. It is highly detailed, maybe too much so in terms of file size, but we can work with that, as long as they all use the same library.

Group One’s Poster:

(Larger version)

Group Two

(Students: Hannah Domnick, Katie Kemps, James Locke, Samuel Reynebeau, Josh Schulz, Eric Villagomez)

Group Two’s Shapefile:

(Larger version)
Group Two’s section was the largest in terms of both number of trees (155) and area covered, but the relative sparseness of the section made mapping those a bit easier.


Group Two’s SketchUp file:

(Larger version)
They used a three-dimensional tree model library from SketchUp, but appear to have chosen a different library than Group One. That messes things up a bit. Neither group is right or wrong here necessarily, it’s that they obviously didn’t establish anything about shared standards.

Group Two’s Poster:

(Larger version)

Group Three

(Students: Michael Brunn, Melissa Dorshak, Nicholas Eilers, Feng Lee, Jeremy Peterson, Chelsey Van Rossum)

Group Three’s Shapefile:

(Larger version)
Group Three had the same number of trees as Group One (133) over a larger area. Having less densely located trees meant the measurements were easier to take, even if more ground had to be covered.


Their SketchUp file:

(Larger version)

Another group, another tree symbol library, this one’s in 2D, which is great for file-size but can make for some awkward visualization. Unlike the other two thus far, Group Three appears to have modeled winter trees, without leaves.

Their Poster:

(Larger version)

Group Four

(Students: Andy Arnoldussen, Xong Lee, Thomas Petersen, Hannah Reuss, Skyler Spielbauer)

Group Four’s Shapefile:

(Larger version)
Group Four mapped the fewest number of trees, just 102, but had the challenge of tacking the particularly tree-dense and undeveloped eastern border of campus.

Their SketchUp file:

(Larger version)

Group Four used a fourth tree library, this one also 2D and winter-based, but not quite the same as what Group Three used. (The merged SketchUp file is going to have to wait a while, because it’s going to take a lot of fixing!)

Their Poster:

(Larger version)


Overall, I thought the groups did well. They tackled nearly every problem thrown their way efficiently, showing strength of critical thinking skills and deductive reasoning. The groups seemed to all work well together, showing a generally good attitude about the project and a willingness to work hard for success. I was proud at how well the shapefiles merged together because the groups really coordinated the standards well for that. I was disappointed that even though I explicitly called for it, they didn’t do the same on the shapefiles. It’s a kind of baffling misfire, but one that can eventually be fixed.


Shapefiles and Data

I’ve finally had a little time to sit down and combine the shapefiles from the UWFox Tree Inventory project that GEO 106 completed this fall. Overall, thanks to the students’ coordination of tree ID codes and attribute formatting, they merged relatively seamlessly.

(Larger version)
And the interactive version as presented on

(Link to Shapefile Download)

Unfortunately, some weather delays meant we didn’t have time during the semester to combine this with the balloon imagery we collected. Now that the semester’s over, I went ahead and did that as well, just for fun:

(Larger version)
It’s fun to make data.

Author: Andrew Shears

Andrew Shears is an Assistant Professor of Geography at Mansfield University in Mansfield, Pennsylvania. His research interests lie at an intersection of the human-environmental nexus, and includes branches of mapping, technological, memorialization and urban geographies. He lives in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania with his wife Amy, a professional photographer.

2 thoughts on “GEO 106’s Full Tree Inventory of UWFox”

  1. Hej Ifrah,Jeg har tabt mig 4,5kg, men mit udgaugspnnkt var en normalvægt, så jeg er måske lidt et dårligt eksempel. Min mand har tabt ca 15kg Hilsen Sanne

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