Greening the Gateway Cities is a Massachusetts environmental justice program created with the aim of planting free trees on private, public and commercial property across the state. A collaboration between several state environmental agencies, GGCP aims to reduce household heating and cooling energy use by increasing tree canopy cover.
DCR’s foresters operate on a “Right Tree, Right Place” principle, meaning that they seek to select the most suitable tree species for each planting location. To help the foresters consider every option, DCR contacted Shields for help with developing a mobile app that would help foresters select from a list of appropriate trees.
After conversation with DCR on their needs and the extent of their inventory, Shields designed an app that would have strong front-end and back-end functionality. With the app, foresters are able to sort 94 different tree species based on 9 different areas and 64 characteristics. These are all editable, so DCR has full control over what options are presented on the app. The app also allows foresters to create a sketch plan of the property, showing where a given tree will be planted.
The back end of the app controls the order process. This allows DCR to choose which nursery the tree should be sourced from and tracks the tree from order to planting. The app even contacts Dig Safe to check that no utility lines will be disrupted by the planting process.
Specifically designed to work on forester’s tablets (both with and without a WiFi connection) the Tree App is simplifying the workflow and expanding the tree planting options for the Greening the Gateway Cities Program. Foresters can plan their planting strategies as well as log the necessary information about a property’s environment and tree needs to better inform their work.