Canopy Analytics

An Interactive Resource for Tree Discovery in the Portland Metro Area

Jackson Voelkel, Geospatial Research Analyst   |  

SUPR Lab   |   Portland State University

Portland Metro Area Trees

Green, Green, Green

Important questions:

  • How do we measure these trees?
  • What trees are important (what is 'important', and to who)?
  • How do we identify trees most in need of preservation?
... without climbing each one!
~180' up a 270' Douglas Fir



  • Airborne Laser Scanning/Mapping
  • ~12 points/m² on flat surface
  • ~21cm point spacing
  • ~63,600,000,000 (63.6 Billion) points in most recent flight
Incoming solar radiation (insolation) measured with and without Canopy
Toggle trees on/off [click and hold]

Exploring the Urban Forest


The Tallest Tree in Portland

252ft     |     Street View

Eastmoreland Sequoias

156ft     |     Street View

What about every tree?


  • Identify every tree crown.
Toggle tree crowns on/off [click and hold]


  • Identify every tree crown.
  • Describe each tree crown.

Machine Learning-derived evergreen/deciduous classification (~90% accuracy). Collaboration with Metro. Open Data.

Informing Statistical Models with Tree Data

Air Quality

Rao, M., George, L. A., Rosenstiel, T. N., Shandas, V., & Dinno, A. (2014). Assessing the relationship among urban trees, nitrogen dioxide, and respiratory health. Environmental Pollution, 194, 96-104.

Urban Heat Island Effect

Voelkel, J., V. Shandas, and B Haggerty (2016). Developing High-Resolution Descriptions of Urban Heat Islands: A public health imperative. Preventing Chronic Disease.

The Canopy Analytics Tool

We know where all of the trees are!

Moving Forward

What do we hope to accomplish?

  • Increase public knowledge of the impact of trees.
  • Educate policy makers to the connections trees have to the environment
  • Nominate for Herritage Tree status that play major roles in:
    • Reduction in the Urban Heat Island Effect
    • Reduction in air pollutants

Future research

  • More modeling!
    • Tree species descriptions
    • Explore the relationships between tree type and Air Quality / UHI
  • New LiDAR: change detection
    • permitted removals
    • ... non-permitted removals
  • Move beyond the Portland Metropolitan Area

Eugene, Oregon UHI Research

Eugene Weekly coverage of research.


Thank you!