Using Data to Tell the Story of Our Work

Since our organization’s inception in 1985, Trees Atlanta has been dedicated to conserving and increasing Atlanta’s vibrant tree canopy through planting. Every year from October to April, you can see staff and volunteers planting our new trees, clad with colorful trees tags in the ground. You can find these trees lining long neighborhood streets, flourishing in one of your favorite greenspaces, or sitting pretty in a front yard. Trees are an integral part of our city’s identity, and with the combined efforts of Tree’s Atlanta staff and our dedicated volunteers, we have planted over 140,000 trees across metro Atlanta!


Trees Atlanta volunteers planting a tree


That’s a pretty staggering number, and you may be wondering how we can possibly keep track of and care for so many trees. Managing such a large dynamic urban forest requires some special tools and lots of dedication. Luckily we’ve got the help of a data supergiant on our side – ESRI’s ArcGIS. ArcGIS is a geographic information system platform that allows users to create, store, manage, and analyze spatial data. It is an invaluable system that is used globally in various sectors and industries. The possibilities for using ArcGIS are endless, such as tracking wildlife migration routes, mapping area based demographic data, or even managing a multi-county tree inventory database.

Trees Atlanta records and tracks tree locations and related information, as well as the maintenance work we perform in city greenspaces. We analyze our stored data to continuously improve our practices and use our findings to collaborate with fellow organizations. With a host of ArcGIS applications and help from our partner, Clearion, Trees Atlanta can monitor and care for plantings and greenspaces like never before, which leads to happier and healthier trees! Here is the culmination of years of plantings on one of our new maps:


Atlanta canopy cover story map preview


From paper maps and endless spreadsheets to a cloud-based, cohesive database, our data processes have certainly grown. This means that now, we have the ability to share our data with you! Check out our Data Journey Story Map to see just how far we’ve come and where we want to go.

Between October 2019 and April 2020, Trees Atlanta staff and volunteers completed a massive amount of work. With 7,135 trees in the ground and 271 acres of targeted species removed from greenspaces, that certainly deserves a pat on the back! It can be difficult to visualize just what those numbers mean, but using ArcGIS Story Maps, we can show you. 

Our volunteers are the heart of Trees Atlanta, and we want to put their work in the spotlight. Check out all the amazing work done by our volunteers during the 2019-2020 planting season through our Story Map.

Volunteers standing near a newly planted tree


Published August 12, 2020

Written by Jenai Daniel