App delay halts Bengaluru's tree census volunteers

App delay halts Bengaluru's tree census volunteers

The census plan has been designed over the eight zones of the BBMP, each containing 24 to 25 wards. FILE PHOTO

Though official enrolment for the tree census closed last month, volunteers can still unofficially register since developing the mobile app crucial to the exercise is taking time.

The app, being developed by the Karnataka State Remote Sensing Applications Centre (KSRCAC), will allow volunteers to record data of every tree and classify them in terms of species and health. It will transmit the data to the Institute of Wood Science and Technology (IWST) that conducts the census. The yet-to-be-named app is still under development.

V Shetteppanavar from the IWST, the nodal officer-in-charge of the census project, said the app is nearly complete and only layers of the Geographic Information System (GIS) needs to be added. “The GIS layers are of vital importance in mapping trees in urban spaces,” Shetteppanavar said.

The IWST said the app should be ready in 15 days, following which it intends to launch the census exercise.

The census plan has been designed over the eight zones of the BBMP, each containing 24 to 25 wards. Volunteers residing in the wards would carry out the census.

“We need three to four volunteers per ward to get the counting done,” Shetteppanavar said.

“The first phase of the project, expected to go on for three years, would focus on the street-side and road-side trees.” The BBMP would count the trees in private properties in the second phase. The IWST said 87 volunteers have registered until now, though the number would increase since registration is still going on.

Rather than focusing on the city’s green cover, Shetteppanavar said the census would record the health of the trees along the road and identify the species.

All the trees surveyed will be tagged, while the data collected will be verified by scientists and taxonomists working at the institute. The data will be posted to the website:  https://bengalurutreecensus.org.

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