Thanks to AI, the app recognizes tree species using a mere photo of a tree. It works on the principle of a 3D scanner using the built-in camera on your phone. Based on the pinpoints captured in the photo, artificial intelligence measures the circumference of the tree trunk and determines its characteristic features. Thanks to this, it tells the user how much water this tree evaporates in the summer, how much shade it provides thanks to its leaf area and how much it cools the surrounding environment. The app can be downloaded for free on Google Play or the App Store.
Users can add the trees they have visited to the map or create their own “tree collection”. In the application, users collect points for visits to new trees, repeated visits and for the watering of the trees. After collecting a certain number of points, stories about trees open up to them as a reward.
“Through the app we want to present the important role of trees in cities. Trees are one of the most efficient ways of cooling public spaces on hot summer days,” says Martin Ander from the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation, which, together with other organizations, participated in the development of the application. According to him, thermal imaging measurements show that the surfaces of unshielded roads and sidewalks often heat up to 50 ° C, whereas in parks or streets, shaded by buildings and greenery, the surface temperature is significantly lower than the temperature of the air. This cooling effect is caused by both the crown of the tree giving shade and the tree evaporating water from the leaves and soil around it.
“The bigger the crown and leaf area of the tree, the more water it can evaporate during the hot summer days and the bigger the shade it provides. The differences between the tree species and the age of the trees also play a role. For example, a mature birch tree can evaporate up to 70 litres of water a day, and up to 400 l of water during a tropical day,” says Martin Ander. Suitable placement of trees and parks can influence the temperature around the house, in the street or the whole block.
The Tree Check mobile App was created to serve the general public. The Tree Check PRO software, on the other hand, helps officials, green space managers and designers to plan the public spaces with regard to where and which trees will help cool the most. “Its advantages include the ability to model the cooling function of trees over time. It takes into consideration the gradual growth of trees and their benefits, so that it can effectively evaluate the expected impact of planned investments on the microclimate in the city,” adds Jaroslav Kolařík from SAFE TREES, a company developing the software.
You can find more information about the Tree Check app on https://www.lifetreecheck.eu/TreeCheckApp.
David Kopecký, david [dot] kopecky [at] nap [dot] cz, phone number: 00420 721 468 231
The application was created by a consortium of partners led by the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation within the LIFE Tree Check project. The project received the European Union financial support from the LIFE programme.