Google will now help cities plant more trees through its new AI platform - GulfToday

Google will now help cities plant more trees through its new AI platform

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Picture used for illustrative purpose only. TNS

Gulf Today Report

Google has launched a new tool called Tree Canopy Lab that combines Artificial Intelligence (AI) and aerial imagery to help cities see their current tree canopy coverage and plan future tree planting projects, starting with Los Angeles.

This has come in response to policy makers and government leaders around the world aiming to plant more trees to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The new model will help bring down temperatures in warming city pockets by identifying swathes where tree cover is scarce or absent.


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"Trees are increasingly seen as a solution to both lowering street-level temperatures while improving quality of life.

“Yet many cities may not have the budget or resources to locate where every tree in town is, or where new tree-planting efforts are most needed," Google said in a statement.

"With the Tree Canopy Lab, you can see Los Angeles' trees with local context, like what percentage of a neighbourhood has leafy cover, an area's population density, what areas are vulnerable to extreme heat, and which neighbourhood councils can help get new roots in the ground," the company informed.

Tree Canopy lab is part of the Environmental Insights Explorer platform, a tool that makes it easier for cities to measure, plan and reduce carbon emissions and pollution.

"With aerial imagery collected from planes during the spring, summer and fall seasons, as well as Google AI and Google Earth Engine's data analysis capabilities, we can now pinpoint all the trees in a city and measure their density," Google said.

Google uses a specialised tree-detection AI that automatically scans the images, detects the presence of trees and then produces a map that shows the density of tree cover, also known as "tree canopy."

The lab is capable of indetifying residential blocks with high tree planting potential and locate sidewalks that are vulnerable to higher temperatures due to low canopy coverage.

"With Tree Canopy Lab we've found that more than 50 per cent of Angelenos live in areas with less than 10 per cent tree canopy coverage and 44 per cent of Angelenos live in areas with extreme heat risk," Google said.

The Tree Canopy Lab will be launched in several other cities in the coming years, the company said.

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