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treeMapping

1 What is the treeMapping project about?

This is a citizen science project to map trees across the country, India. If each one of us map a few trees in your neighbourhood we can cover the entire country. All the districts of India are included in the map. Please visit from the main page the district where you are located and add the trees.

This is a scientific investigation where there are no restrictions on who participates; no single agency owns the results of the investigation; and the process of investigation is open. Such an investigation is often called an Open Science project.

Open science projects are Citizen Science projects, though not all citizen science projects are open as above.

2 What kind of investigation could one do by using such maps?

For example, during the last four years about 400 Rain trees in Mumbai died. Why did they die? That is: What is the cause of their death? What can we do to prevent further damage?

In order to find answers to the above questions, we need to know the possible causes of tree death. For example, mealybug infestation is assumed as one of causes of the dead Rain trees in Mumbai. Some others feel, it is due to concretization of the pavements, since most of the dead trees are the avenue trees. Yet some others suspect, someone is poisoning the trees to make a quick buck. There can be other reasons, e.g., there aren't enough predators of the meaybug, such as ladybug. Thus, while we map every Rain tree, we will also collect the information of this kind to investigate the cause of the death.

Well, this is just an example. It depends on the question you may have that provokes an investigation.

Apart from mapping the location, it is also possible to upload pictures of the tree at different times of the year, specifically to record the seasonal changes. You can also record the height of the tree, girth of the tree, and important changes that take place on the tree such as flowering, fruiting, bird nests, sheltering birds, leaf fall, pests found on the tree etc. If you want any customization of the site please write to us.

Very soon a mobile App will be made available for easy mapping while your are on site.

A video explaining this procedure will soon be made available.

3 Why are we doing this?

  • to sensitize citizens
  • to enhance the participatory base of science
  • to include and involve everyone in doing science
  • to inculcate a culture of recording, reporting and conducting research
  • to develop critical scientific literacy among the citizens

4 What are the immediate goals?

To create an online platform for collaborative participation, reporting, recording and visualization of open data.

You are of course free to map other trees as well.

5 What are the longterm goals?

To build upon this data and resources and expand it to mapping birds, seasonal changes (phenology studies), behavioral patterns, water bodies, water quality, air quality, mosqueto breeding grounds, human disease patterns (epidemiology), etc.

6 Who all can participate?

Any citizen of the world. Since we do have an educational focus, we specifically encourage wide participation from students, teachers and parents from school to university. This evidently includes home makers, workers, employees or any others.

7 How to participate?

  • Look for Rain trees near your residential area or near your place of work, on the way to your school, college, office etc.
  • Registration at the website http://trees.metaStudio.org/
  • If you have a tree near your neighbourhood, please mark the location after choosing the district/city. You can search on the home page for your district by pressing Control-f and type the first initials of the district/city.
  • After the correct area is located, zoom-in to the area where the tree is located. Change the layer of the map (from the top right hand side of the map) to satellite so that you can see the trees clearly.
  • Then, click on "Add Tree" (found on the right hand side of your screen) to place the location of the tree, name of the tree.
  • After we map the location, we can return to add more details about the tree such as:
    • girth (a measure of the distance around the trunk of the tree measured perpendicular to the axis of the trunk) of the tree at about 1.4 meters from ground level.
    • upload pictures of the tree
    • any other observations like flowering, fruiting etc.
    • if the tree is dead or live
    • if the dead tree is cut, if you know when etc.
    • if the tree stands in a concrete or paved area.

8 Dedication

  • We dedicate this tree mapping platform for citizen's engagement to map all the trees and record the observations around them to the memory of Prof. Chitra Natarajan (1954-2015), our friend, mentor and colleague at Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education