Missouri Town Uses GIS for Mapping Trees

In helping keep track of wildlife, the Warrensburg, Mo., city government is mapping out trees in order to keep track of which ones are slated for removal and where others may be planted.

by Sue Sterling, The Daily Star-Journal, Warrensburg, Mo. / August 30, 2016

(TNS) -- WARRENSBURG, Mo. -- City planner Amanda Jacobson gave the Tree Board a demonstration Thursday on how the new geographic information system will be used to monitor and manage the city’s tree inventory.

Jacobson said the system pinpoints trees in the inventory and highlights the trees to be removed, shows the trees needing pruning, available planting sites and the location of trees that have been removed.

“We’re educating the parks and Public Works staff to let us know when they touch a tree,” Jacobson said, so the plan can be kept up to date.

Chuck Connor, urban forester with the Missouri Department of Conservation, commended Jacobson for keeping the plan updated.

Board member Trish Smith said she found the presentation informative. “It shows (tree management) is being addressed in a professional way,” she said.

Jacobson said the information includes the number of trees of each species to help keep the inventory diversified.

She said it is hoped that public layers of the GIS system will be available on the city’s website by January.

Community Development Director Barbara Carroll said the city did not have the GIS available when it started the tree inventory in 2011.

She said the development of the GIS system began two years ago under the leadership of County Assessor Mark Reynolds, who contracted for new aerial photographs of the county.

Midland GIS is building the maps, layer by layer, she said.

Residents can use the information on tree locations if they need to replace water lines or for landscaping projects, she said.

The Tree Board maintains a list of trees recommended for residential use on the website.

It also has a list of recommended trees for parking lots that developers can obtain from city staff.

Carroll said that list is not on the website to avoid confusion.

Connor said he had reviewed that list and removed some trees “that need a lot of root space” and do not do well in compacted soil.

“I hate to be restrictive,” he said, noting that it is becoming more difficult to obtain some species of trees.

Carroll said she would make some corrections suggested by Smith to the Tree Board website, including changing some links “that don’t work.”

The city is seeking requests for proposals for a firm to redo its website, she said, which are due by Aug. 31.

She said she anticipates a contractor will be issued a notice to proceed in October.

“We have to fix some obvious things now,” she said, adding, “We’ll have to live with (the current website) … for six months.”

The board agreed to add information directing property owners to ask the city about tree plantings within 10 feet of a curb or within 20 feet of an intersection on public streets and parks and to maintain their plantings so they do not interfere with safe use of sidewalks, streets and alleys. www.warrensburg-mo.com.

©2016 The Daily Star-Journal (Warrensburg, Mo.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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