Displaying all posts in the New Features category.

Creating a Custom Field

Need to track a specific stewardship activity or the number of bird nests in trees in your inventory?  OpenTreeMap enables map owners to create their own custom fields on the fly. This post takes you through the steps to do just that.

Step 1: Click on the “Manage” tab in the top navigation. Once on the “Manage” page, click on the “Custom Fields” on the left side menu, as demonstrated in the animated GIF below.


Step 2:  In the “Field Name” box, type whatever you wish to track.  For instance, in the GIF below I typed in “Bird House”, which I can track either as part of my “Trees” or my “Planting Sites”.  Next, select the “Field Type”: Number, Decimal, List of Choices, Text or Date.  Pick whichever applies to the field you are creating.

In my example, I selected “List of Choices”, then typed in “Yes” or “No” because I want to be able to track whether there are bird houses in the trees in my inventory or not.  Basically, “List of Choices” enables you to determine a list of any possibilities of your choice that will appear in a drop down menu.   After you are finished, click on the “Create Custom Field” button.  Your custom field is now created, but you now need to determine the levels of permission you will grant to the users of your map. That’s step #3.


Step 3:  Once your custom field has been created, a series of roles appear underneath it: “Administrator”; “Editor”; “Public”. You can decide there if you want to give “Full Write Access”; ‘Read Only”; or “Invisible” , i.e No Access, to your different users . Once you have set the permissions scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the “Update Fields” button.


Step 4:  In order to finalize your custom field and make it visible to your different types of users, navigate to the “Roles” page by clicking on the “Roles” in the left side menu.  By default you will land under the “Administrator” role (you can see it in the “Update Existing Role” at the top of the page), which you can change to “Editor” or “Public”.  Select your newly created custom field (you might have to refresh your page) and set the permission you wish to grant for each of your types of users, click the “Update” button at the bottom on the page.  The GIF below shows the setting of the custom field “Bird House” to be “Full Write Access”.


Step 5:  Navigate to a tree’s detail page on your tree map. Your newly created custom field now appears as part of your Tree Information.



Celebrating Arbor Day in Edmonton with yegTreeMap

On Friday, May 9, the City of Edmonton celebrates their annual Arbor Day event with festivities showcasing the many benefits delivered by trees and a healthy urban forest. Since the early 1950s, the City also provides every student in grade 1 with a free seedling on Arbor Day, a tradition the Province of Alberta expanded into a project to provide a free seedling to all grade 1 students in the province.  Over 15,000 children receive trees according to the City’s website – a great way to encourage love of the natural environment!


As part of this year’s Arbor Day celebration, the City’s Forestry division is encouraging Edmonton residents to share the stories of their Arbor Day trees on yegTreeMap, one of the newest members of the OpenTreeMap community and the first tree map in Canada. yegTreeMap gives Edmontonians and the general public access to the open data set of trees owned and maintained by the City. Visitors to yegTreeMap can search the trees by species, diameter, and location; view the benefits generated by the trees; and update information on trees already on the map.

Perhaps one of the most exciting features is that visitors can also contribute information about the trees in their yard or street. Gathering information on backyard trees can be difficult, yet these trees make up a large percentage of a city’s urban forest and contribute to the health of the air and water in a community. Jeannette Wheeler, Principal of Forestry for the City of Edmonton, said, “We’re excited to see what species people have planted in their backyards which could provide the Forestry Department suggestions for new species we can trial on public land. One of the largest benefits to yegTreeMap is that the data is open for anyone to access for research and analysis.”


Visitors are encouraged to get started on yegTreeMap by creating an account in order to post a photo of their Arbor Day tree and tell its history. When was the tree planted? Did it inspire the planting of other trees? Has it housed any wildlife? Been transplanted when your family moved? Provided shade for decades of parties and picnics? The stories of the Arbor Day trees are the stories of Edmonton’s neighborhoods, and yegTreeMap provides an opportunity for people to share how the trees contribute to the City’s history.

We’re thrilled to have yegTreeMap become part of OpenTreeMap Cloud. As part of the Cloud system, yegTreeMap will be regularly updated with new features as they are added to the OpenTreeMap platform over the next few months. Most recently, we added support for tracking and searching stewardship activities. In addition to entering information on their tree’s species or diameter, visitors can now also log maintenance actions like watering or pruning the tree. A stewardship search bar located under the Advanced search filters enables users to search for trees that have received stewardship activities within a certain time frame. We hope this feature inspires people to regularly care for their trees and maintain a healthy urban forest.

Are you from Edmonton? Make sure to log your trees on yegTreeMap and spread the word about the map!

A Streamlined “Add a Tree” Process in Yesterday’s New OpenTreeMap.org Release

Azavea practices Agile/Scrum software development, and our Civic Apps team (which works on OpenTreeMap.org among our other civic software projects) organizes work into 2-week Sprints. Accordingly, every couple of weeks we test and release to production a new set of features and enhancements to the OpenTreeMap cloud platform. Yesterday was one of those deployment days, with a new version of the software behind OpenTreeMap.org going live to all our users!

Sometimes, complex features are “in the works” for several Sprints in a row before they are released; often though, new OTM releases include smaller enhancements and bug fixes. Over time, these smaller improvements can add up to be quite significant. And these continuous releases of new enhancements are a key advantage of Software-as-a-Service (“SaaS”, aka “cloud”) offerings like OTM, ensuring our users always have the latest version of the software.

The Civic Apps team has been working for a while now on features both small and large related to adding green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) support to the OTM platform.  The recently released TreeMap LA and our fabulous client TreePeople‘s goal of tracking green infrastructure in the Los Angeles area has been a key driver of this recent push for us. Trees are already “green stormwater infrastructure” because they infiltrate water and reduce stormwater runoff load.  But we’re extending OTM to support other GSI, such as green roofs, bioswales and rain gardens.  In this release, one of the small enhancements we’ve pushed live is a redesigned, three step, multi-panel “add a tree” process. This new multi-step design paves the way for us to also add in the workflow for users to add GSI elements like green roofs in an upcoming release. See what I mean about small improvements adding up quickly?!

If you have access to your own tree map on OpenTreeMap.org, or if you live near Los Angeles and want to add some trees in your neighborhood on TreeMap LA, here’s a run-down of the new workflow!

Step 1: Set the Tree’s Location

The first panel in our new three-step add a tree workflow.

The first panel in our new three-step add a tree workflow.

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