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Fruit trees lining the streets of Vancouver mapped thanks to open data

Fruit trees on the boulevards in the City of Vancouver.

Late Tuesday night, I noticed that the City of Vancouver had released Vancouver Street Trees into their Open Data Catalogue.

Wednesday afternoon, our awesome intern, Gideon, went to work to import the data into the Foodtree API, so we could get it mapped.  It needed some cleanup prior to uploading, including approximating street addresses from the City’s grid system and sorting the food producing trees from the Conifers and Arbutus. He grabbed the data set and merged it into a single file and then uploaded to Google’s Refine tool to sort out the fruit trees. After adding the common name to the City’s numerical name, we uploaded it to Foodtree. Using our Sourcemap integration, all of the fruit trees on the public boulevards of Vancouver are now mapped. You can search by name, so it is now easy to find the 13 fig trees in the City. If you want to embed the map somewhere, you can get the embed code here. And, if you are in Vancouver, simply opening Foodtree.com on your smartphone browser now shows you where the nearest public fruit trees are, in addition to farmers markets, grocers, food trucks and restaurants.

Hopefully we’ll soon be able to add the fruit trees in city parks. It is part of our ongoing effort to map all of the available food sources in the City of Vancouver.

24 Comments Post a comment
  1. gs #

    Not sure this list is complete, there are 2 fruit trees – fig I think – on Willow and 17th. If I put this update here are you able to add them?

    February 5, 2012
    • Thanks, gs. We are pretty certain that the list is INCOMPLETE. It is the City’s data set, and it only pertains to those trees that they define as along boulevards. The way to add them is through our free iPhone app, Foodtree. Simply snap a photo of each tree and tag them with name and location. If you don’t have an iPhone, email me anthony at foodtree.com and you can beta test our web upload. Thanks again!

      February 6, 2012
  2. Wow, super! I should have known you guys would jump on this! I am wondering if many of the trees listed as “cherry” or “plum” are actually only ornamental. Is there any way to confirm that what you’ve mapped is edible? I’m hoping to get a GIS guru I know to overlay your map with our known trees database. Maybe we’ll be able to pick more on each outing if we know of extra trees in the area.
    Cheers,
    Erin
    Vancouver Fruit Tree Project

    February 25, 2012
  3. Hi Erin. We attempted to quickly remove ornamentals, but we aren’t certain at this point. We’re working on tweaking our mobile application so that people could submit a photo and confirm. It would be great to collaborate with you (and we’d be happy to work on the overlay too). Email me anthony at foodtree dot com.

    February 27, 2012
  4. Ben #

    Thanks for posting this. I started a map a few years ago, but haven’t had much time to develop it. See http://publicfruitvancouver.blogspot.com/. I was able to get a paper copy of the tree list from the city at the time but found that many of the listed trees are ornamental varieties. Most of the trees listed on the linked map are fruit producing and have been checked/tasted by myself or a volunteer. Would be interesting to see how many of these match…

    March 3, 2012
  5. Ben, great stuff! It’s nice that the data is increasingly being shared in formats other than print, right?

    Now that we have a strong list the question becomes how to keep it updated. Our iPhone app let’s people actually share photos of these trees as they find them, maybe even including some comments on their condition. We’d like this kind of thing to be possible from any mobile phone, which would let the community self-monitor these trees.

    Would love thoughts in that direction.

    March 5, 2012
  6. Greenstorm #

    Oh no! You forgot to add the Castanea sativa! :)

    March 8, 2012
  7. Lee #

    Just wondering…are all fruit trees that line the streets of Vancouver, are they for everybody? Some lady said that the tree was in front of her house so it’s on HER property (even though there is a sidewalk separating her front lawn from the green area where the tree is) and therefore, the tree is off-limits to everyone.
    What do you think?

    July 2, 2013
  8. UrbanHuntress #

    Street trees belong to the City of Vancouver and are under the care of the Parks Board. They are fair game. If the tree is in the city’s database of street trees, it’s one of theirs. You’re pretty much guaranteed that the curbside (between the street and the sidewalk) is city property and is public. Negative people get very territorial. Best to avoid them even though that may mean seeing fruit rot. Full listing (not a map) of all street trees is here http://data.vancouver.ca/datacatalogue/streetTrees.htm

    July 17, 2013
  9. UrbanHuntress #

    Is this still available as an app?

    July 17, 2013
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