Frequently asked questions

New Version of the San Diego Tree Map

This new version of the San Diego Tree Map looks very different from the one I used to use. What happened?

Since the original San Diego Tree Map was released in early 2012, technology and San Diego County’s trees have evolved!

You’ll notice two big changes on the Map: (1) a new look and (2) a lot less data. (1) The new look reflects many exciting changes in the underlying technology, making the Map tablet-ready, easier to use, faster and more flexible. (2) For now, we’ve removed the data from cities until we have the latest information. Many new inventories are being conducted, particularly with more accurate tree locations. We hope to add city-supplied data in the near future. If you work with a local municipality or other organization with a tree inventory and you’re interested in seeing it on the Map, we would love to hear from you.

I added trees to the old Map. What happened to them?

Don’t worry! We greatly appreciate the work that you’ve done, and we’ve preserved all the data entered by users like you (nearly 2,000 trees). We’ll be returning that information to the new version of the Map as soon as possible.

Getting Started

I’d like to participate. What can I do?

[Option 1]

For now, because of scarce resources, we’ve set the San Diego Tree Map to be “view-only.” We hope you’ll explore what’s there–particularly keeping an eye on the 1,000 trees Tree San Diego will be planting around San Diego in the coming months! In the future, we’ll be opening the Map back up for user participation. We hope tree lovers around the County will join us then in adding their trees to the Map.


[Option 2]

The San Diego Tree Map was built with user participation in mind! We hope you’ll help build a more robust picture of our urban forest by adding the trees where you live, work and play to the Map. To get started, click here to create an account. Don’t forget to check your email for the activation link. Then, add your first tree by clicking the +Add a Tree Button and follow the steps!

If you had an account on the previous version of the Map, you’ll need to make a new one. We’re sorry for the hassle, but transferring that data just wasn’t feasible.

How do I create an account?

No account is needed to explore the Map, but you can click here to create an account. Don’t forget to check your email for the activation link. Once you have an account, you can also participate in other OpenTreeMap projects, which you can find on the map here.

Is there an app?

Of course! You can download the OpenTreeMap app for the iPhone here and for Android phones here. Once you’ve downloaded the app, choose to allow it to use Location Services and it will zoom to the San Diego Tree Map.

There is no tablet-specific app; you can either use the phone app on your tablet, or even better, just use the San Diego Tree Map website directly on your tablet’s browser.

Eco Benefits

What are the “Eco Benefits” showing on the Map?

Our environment, when it’s functioning well, provides many services that are critical to human health and survival. Some of the services that the trees around us provide include filtering pollutants out of the air and water, reducing energy use, sequestering carbon, and creating oxygen. The urban forest is a very valuable component of the environment, providing these services right in the places where we live, work, and play.

For each tree (whose species and trunk diameter are known), we show the following benefits:

  • Energy conserved: When trees are planted to shade buildings, they reduce the amount of energy needed for air conditioning. The value presented here represents the number of kilowatt-hours of energy conserved by planting the tree.
  • Stormwater filtered: Trees help manage stormwater by capturing water on their leaves, increasing the pervious surface and thereby reducing the flow of water, and reducing erosion. The value presented on the Map represents the number of gallons of water captured on the leaves–water that will therefore not be a burden on the municipal stormwater system.
  • Air quality improved: Trees improve air quality in a few ways: (a) They filter gaseous pollutants out of the atmosphere. (b) They capture particulate pollutants on their leaves and render them less harmful. (c) By reducing energy use (see above), they reduce the amount of pollutants created at the power plant when fossil fuels are burned. The air quality improvement value represents the pounds of air pollutants (nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, small particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds) removed from the air by the trees according to these three methods.
  • Carbon dioxide removed: Trees reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas, in two ways: (a) They pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and transform it into tree matter: roots, trunks, leaves, etc. (b) By reducing energy use (see above), they reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced at the power plant when fossil fuels are burned.

Where does the Eco Benefits data come from?

All of the numbers and dollar values for the ecosystem services trees provide come from a software tool called i-Tree Streets, which was developed by the Urban Ecosystems and Processes team of the US Forest Service (formerly the Center for Urban Forest Research). For more information, visit UEP and the iTree Tools website.

For Tree San Diego