Thursday, May 07, 2020

Take a Tree Walk

On leaving my house it takes 567 steps to walk around my block and get back to my front door. I know because I've counted every step. This week alone I've walked around my block at least 30 times. Thanks to coronavirus I am now on very intimate terms with Pond Rd, Church Rd, Baker St and Manor Rd.

Last week, in order to try to enliven my daily exercise routine, I tried Local Sightseeing with Wikipedia. This week I'm learning about all the trees I pass on my daily walk. I am also using TreeTalk to create walks in my neighborhood around all the nearby trees.

TreeTalk is an interactive map of London's trees. It uses data from the Greater London Authority to map trees across the whole of London. It is a great way to learn more about the trees in your local neighborhood. It also includes a great feature which allows you to create a walk centered on any individual nearby tree.

If you click on a tree marked on the map you can learn the tree's common and Latin name. You can also create a walk which starts at your tree and takes you on a tour of a number of other nearby trees. Some of the trees you will encounter on your walk are numbered on the map. Under the map you can learn more about each of the trees shown on your walk, including details such as the color of a tree's bark & leaves and when it fruits or flowers.

Another useful feature of TreeTalk is the 'Visible Trees' option. If you zoom in on your neighborhood on the map and open the Visible Trees tab you can see how many different tree species are in your neighborhood and how many trees there are of each species. You can also select individual tree species to highlight all the trees of that type on the map. This is great, for example, if you want to find all the  edible fruit trees near your home.

TreeTalk only works in London, however lots of towns and cities have interactive maps of local trees. If you search Maps Mania for trees you will find a few tree maps for other cities around the world. If you live in the USA you can also try OpenTreeMap, which has created interactive tree maps for a number of different cities.

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