How to Identify and Add Trees into Canopy's TreePlotter Web Software

This morning I added around 150 trees in my neighborhood into Canopy's TreePlotter software in only 1.5 hours. Here is how I was able to leverage AI technology to make the process very efficient.

This morning I added all ~150 trees in my neighborhood into Canopy's TreePlotter web software. From Canopy's website:

The Canopy Tree Plotter is a collaboration between Canopy, the City of Palo Alto, and anyone who wants to contribute! Tree Plotter is a tree inventory software created by Plan-it Geo, a company that specializes in trees and technology – how perfect for the bay area!
This customized advanced tool will enhance Canopy’s tree planting and tree care management, and improve how volunteers conduct the annual Young Tree Care Survey and The Great Oak Count.
It’s also a user-friendly experience for tree stewards and enthusiasts to better understand our tree neighbors. You can access the map on your computer, tablet, or smartphone; all you need is an internet connection and you’re ready to explore and use the map.
Fig 1. Screenshot from Canopy TreePlotter. I had added around 150 - 170 trees this morning, all from my iPhone, in around 1.5 hours.

I added around 160 trees in 1.5 hours (Fig. 1), which was a lot faster than I was expecting. I wanted to share some learnings so that you could also do the same around your area.

Identifying Trees

I downloaded the free PictureThis app on my iPhone. To identify a tree, I took a photo of the tree and within a couple seconds the app would tell me what species it was.

Adding Tree into TreePlotter

On my iPhone (Fig. 2), I opened Safari and navigated to the Canopy TreePlotter website. With a few clicks, I could select to add a tree and then proceed to click on the map. I would fill in either the common name or scientific name, and then close the pop-up window.

Fig 2. Here is a view of TreePlotter on my iPhone. I was able to do everything I needed on my smaller phone screen while walking around the neighborhood.

Then I would walk to the next tree and repeat the process of identifying and adding the tree.

Why Inventory Trees?

Our HOA may want to plant new trees in the future, and having an inventory would help provide the current state, in order to make a better design.

Having a tree inventory can also help our landscapers to provide more accurate quotes that are potentially lower since more information de-risks their planning process.

Lastly, I can now share this tree inventory with neighbors and anyone interested. I am sure many people like me have been curious what trees are in the neighborhood, and this information can inspire neighbors to want to plant certain trees.


I learned a lot about the trees in my neighborhood in the process. I thought it was very fun and would highly recommend you do this too. TreePlotter is mainly paid for by the City of Palo Alto, but Canopy has been using it in East Palo Alto and I have been able to add trees by signing up for a free account.

When you do get around to this, please share your contributions!

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