Funded by the US Forest Service, the Urban Forestry Project is investigating the effects of tree cover on health, health behaviors and pollution levels. The project is being conducted in collaboration with the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Queens College and the University of Vermont. The results of the work have been published in the Journal of Applied Remote Sensing and Environmental Health Perspectives.
We used 2010 LiDAR data to create a high definition model, accurate to 6 inches, of the tree canopy of NYC. Below is an example of the LiDAR point elevation data rendered in 3D.
Analyses of these LiDAR data allowed us to create a highly accurate map of land cover in NYC and to specifically identify tree canopy cover. The image below shows an aerial photograph and the corresponding section of the land cover map – tree canopy cover is indicated in bright green. From this land cover map we can easily quantify the extent of tree canopy within a 0.25 km radius circle around the indicated home address.