Tree Inventory Intern

Ashley Northcotte

Nov. 21, 2014

With a love for nature, geography and the world around us, I graduated from Brock University with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and a Bachelor of Education with a Basic Qualification in Junior/Intermediate divisions with a teachable in Geography. This past fall, I returned to academia and earned a Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems/Geospatial Management from Niagara College, and shortly after acquired a temporary internship with the City of Welland.


My position includes working closely with both the Forestry and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Departments in order to complete an electronic inventory of all Right-Of-Way boulevard trees. Before starting the project, I trained with the City of Welland Arborists in the skill of identifying and distinguishing different native and cultivated tree species, using multiple tree characteristics such as; leaf detail, tree structure and bark texture.

I begin my day in the office, where I use several different layers (street labels, address labels and parcel boundaries) combined with aerial imagery in Manifold System in order to plot point features and display them on a map. Each of these point features represent a tree.

Each point displayed represents a tree.



Each point displayed represents a tree. Yellow points have been populated with data.

The point features plotted in the office will be loaded onto a mobile version of the software for recording and editing the tree attribute data (additional information attached to each tree type) in the field. Each point is populated with;

  • Genus and species
  • Status (in service of removed)
  • Diameter (cm)
  • Recommended maintenance (trimming, removal)
  • Nearby infringement (street lights, signs, hydro)

At the end of my day, I return to the office and place my data in a shared drive where it will be loaded into a database. At this time I have recorded roughly 6, 600 trees, and I will continue this process until the inventory has been completed.

Since Geographic Information Systems are a computer based tools that can combine and organize different types of information about features which have a geographic component, you get the chance to spatially relate multiple types of information, data sets and fields of study in order to look for patterns and relationships. It is exciting to be a part of such an innovative and versatile field and I anticipate a career where I get to practice life-long learning with the potential of sharing that excitement with others through education.

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