Google has launched a new tool called “Copper Lab” that can help cities plant more trees. The Tree Canopy Lab will use aerial imagery to map the green vegetation of the city and use AI to suggest locations where more trees need to be planted. In summer, buildings tend to accumulate heat. The tree canopy laboratory can help reduce the temperature in vulnerable areas by identifying pockets that can increase tree coverage. The Canopy Lab is an initiative of Google’s sustainability program and will be piloted in Los Angeles.
According to a study by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, heat waves are becoming more intense and frequent in Los Angeles. The Tree Canopy Laboratory also concluded that more than half of Los Angeles residents live in areas where tree coverage is less than 10% of their residential areas. Google’s Canopy Lab aims to change the status quo by motivating people to take action to reduce emissions.
The Canopy Lab combines aerial imagery and Google’s AI to find the location of trees. Google uses airplanes to collect aerial imagery from all over the world for Google Maps and Google Earth. Starting in Los Angeles, the Tree Canopy Lab will use the same image data to estimate tree coverage throughout the city.
The information collected on the tree cover will be provided to an interactive map, which contains other data such as population density, heat risk, land use and neighborhood boundaries. Combining all the information, the Canopy Lab will be able to point out which areas are more susceptible to high temperatures.
Google said that more and more cities are providing data. Google’s services are free to use, and the map will be updated regularly. Any city planner interested in using the tool can choose to get in touch with Google through the form that the company released with today’s announcement.
The nature conservation organization American Forests launched a similar tree mapping tool on Tuesday with the support of Microsoft. The tool has been piloted in Maricopa County, Rhode Island, and the San Francisco Bay area in Arizona.
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