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Google Launches Tree Canopy Lab to Find Where Cities Need More Trees By Using Power of AI and Aerial Imagery

Google Launches Tree Canopy Lab to Find Where Cities Need More Trees By Using Power of AI and Aerial Imagery
Image courtesy: Google Blog

Global warming is one of the biggest concerns for humanity. And as it progresses, a lot of climate changes will happen, ultimately leading to serious health issues in many people. Especially in the urban areas, tree cover is too low, and it’s become more than important to restore that. To assist this process, Google has launched “Tree Canopy Lab,” a tool that automatically identifies areas where trees should be planted. 

In urban areas, most of the city is covered with concrete paved roads and buildings. This traps heat and makes the place hotter than the suburbs — creating heat islands. It results in an increased risk of heart stroke due to heatwaves. Here’s where Google’s Tree Canopy Lab will assist policymakers plan where they need to plant more trees.

How Does Google’s Tree Canopy Lab Work

It’s a well-known fact that trees clean the environment and provide shade to people and other things in the vicinity. The roadside trees protect buildings from direct sunlight, thereby reducing more heat to trap. Moreover, the evaporation process lowers the temperatures in the surrounding area. Thus, the tree plantation in urban areas can significantly cool the cities. So to identify places for tree plantation, Google’s new tool detects trees in urban areas by using the power of AI and aerial photography.

Google Launches Tree Canopy Lab to Find Where Cities Need More Trees By Using Power of AI and Aerial Imagery
Image courtesy: Google Blog

According to Google, the company will collect aerial imagery from planes during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. After this, it’ll combine its AI and Google Earth data to “pinpoint all the trees in a city and measure their density.” The tech giant says that it’ll first start from the city of Los Angeles.

In addition to this, the tool will use near-infrared photos to detect various colors and compare images from different angles to create a height map. After this, Google uses a specialized tree detection AI that scans all the images to detect the presence of trees. The AI then creates a map that shows the density of tree cover in that area.

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