Do you have a smartphone?

If so, you can start gathering tree data right now!

The TreeTaggr system

Imagine if everyone who loved trees could help gather good, reliable, forest health data. With TreeTaggr, they are able to. Smartphones have all the hardware necessary to gather pictures, location, observational details, and send it all to a central database. The TreeTaggr system was built from the ground up to not only gather and sort this data, but to foster a community of users that learn about forests while working together to create robust, actionable, forest health information.

“There is no more pressing need than to preserve our trees, for our earth, and ourselves. Any way we can help gather information on the health of trees must be embraced.” - Lori P. Knowles, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Canada

TreeTaggr will change the way we interact with our forests.

The TreeTaggr system has the following capabilities:

  • Uses Twitter as the front-end app since it is free on every smartphone.
  • Automatic detection of the user’s location when a 'Tweet' is sent.
  • Ability for the user to enter information about the tree.
  • Receive a photograph of the tree or pest.
  • Process the 'Tweet' into a validated Tree Tag based on data quality requirements.
  • Send a confirmation to the user when a valid Tree Tag is received by them, or send a message explaining why the 'Tweet' was not validated, and how to fix it.
  • Assign credit to the user, even if they choose not to set up an account with TreeTaggr.
  • Automatically update a global recognition board with user's rank and effort levels for comparison, competition, and other recognition opportunities.
  • Store all the collected information in a highly scalable cloud database.
  • Distribute the information in the open-source JSON data format.
“From a certain perspective TreeTaggr is simple. It is basically a ‘crowd sourced’ data collection tool for tracking the spread of tree disease within and across forests. But TreeTaggr is also a harbinger for something much bigger. TreeTaggr portends a new way of thinking about scientific research and a new way of thinking about volunteerism.” - Neil Hepburn, Information Management consultant, PwC Canada LLP.

See all the Tree Tags mapped online

Once a Tag is accepted by the TreeTaggr system it will appear on the treetaggr.org map in seconds!

Overview of the TreeTaggr.org mapping system

How to use the TreeTaggr online map:

  1. Enter the location where you want to view Tree Tags. You can type an address or a zipcode. Then click the 'Redo Search in Area' button.
  2. Click on a TreeTaggr pin to make a tag and details pop up on the map. When many tags are grouped in one area they become numbers in a colored circle. Click the number in the circle to zoom in and select individual pins.
  3. When a tree tag pops up it shows the twitter user, the species that was entered, a picture of the tag, latitude and longitude, time the tag was made, and a button to report inappropriate tags.
  4. Use zoom and mouse or touch controls to navigate around on the map.
  5. You can also click on a tag in the list of tags on the right of the map, or below the map on tablets and phones. Doing so will take you directly to that tag.
  6. Click on the 'Leaderboard' tab above the list of tags to see who has the most points. Remember that you get a point for every valid tree tag you submit.

Tag like a pro

Here are some tips for making professional quality Tree Tags

Don't forget the basics

Your Tweet must have these things in order for it to validate and be used by TreeTaggr:
  1. You must be following TreeTaggr on Twitter in order to get verification that your Tree Tag is valid and accepted by the TreeTaggr System.
  2. You must have @treetaggr somewhere in the body of the tweet - preferably at the beginning.
  3. There must be a GPS location in your Tweet. Make sure the arrow at the bottom of your Tweet compose screen is blue and the 'Share precise location' button is turned on for EVERY tweet.
  4. There must be a picture of a tree or a tree pest in your Tweet.
  5. You can use #species= OR #espece= (For our French Canadian friends at ArboCible.ca). If you know the species then enter it. If you don't, you can enter a ? after the =

Advanced tagging

The more information you can send the better. Consider adding some or all of these tags:
  1. #disease - Including #disease= will put more information into the database. For example, #disease=EAB (short for Emerald Ash Borer) is very helpful. If there's no disease, then #disease=none is valid.
  2. #field - Add a field condition hashtag. For example, if you are in a park, #field=park would be useful to include. Or if you are in a recently burned area #field=burned is useful.
  3. Tell a friend with @ - You have to have @treetaggr in your tweet, but you can send it to other contacts as well. For example we wouldn't mind seeing your tag @AdamCostanza or @SusanHMcCord
  4. We will be adding more tags to the TreeTaggr System in the future. Join our mailing list (coming soon) to stay in the loop.

Troubleshooting TreeTaggr

Here's what to do if things aren't working properly

Check your Twitter settings

  1. Log into your account at Twitter.com
  2. click this link to go to your to your account settings: https://twitter.com/settings/security
  3. You should see a screen similr to the one shown below. Make sure the button to 'Add a location to my Tweets' is checked as in the highlighted box in the image below.
  4. Turn on Add a location to my Tweets in your Twitter settings

    Check your phone

    Your phone should be updated with the current software to keep it working properly with Twitter:
    1. See if there is an update for your phone by following the instructions for your phone. Here are the iPhone iOS update instructions, Android update instructions, and Windows update instructions.
    2. Make sure you have the latest version of Twitter for your phone by downloading and installing the latest version here.
    3. Make sure you are following TreeTaggr on Twitter. This is important so that we can send you a direct Twitter message about your tags.
    4. Sending a Tweet while you are not connected to a cellular network does not work because of a bug in the Twitter app. Help us by asking Twitter developers to fix this feature. Learn more about the bug here or simply retweet our request for support here.

Resources for trees and pests

Below is a minute-long video about the Wolly Adelgid in the Smoky Mountains

Here's some identification resources and tools to help you provide more information in you tree tag.

  1. USDA Forest Service Forest (USFS) Insect and Disease Leaflets (FIDL) reports on tree pests.
    - Technical publications that address specific tree pests, including identification and control.
  2. USFS Pest Alerts.
    - One-page fact sheets about new or unusual tree pests.
  3. Arbor Day Tree Key.
    - An illustrated step-by-step key to identify a tree by the kinds of leaves it produces.

The TreeTaggr team and forests everywhere thank you!

Project partners

Natural Resources Canada Provided a grant to promote the use of TreeTaggr in Canada and make the system bi-lingual.

The Cradle of Forestry is using mobile iPads on interpretive tours to educate visitors and tag trees.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is using multiple mobile iPads to introduce TreeTaggr to teachers across the state.

Sponsors

Hover over logo for details

                                       

Donors

Redwood level $1,000+

  • Lori Knowles
  • Sofia Valenzuela

Kauri level $250 - $999

  • Tim Strabala
  • Michael Rodemeyer
  • Adam Costanza
  • Susan McCord
  • Jennifer Costanza

Chestnut level $100 - $249

  • Allison Jordan
  • Michelle Kwasny
  • Michael McCord
  • Steven Burke
  • Mary Jeanette Ebanhack
  • Richard Rosenweig
  • Armand Seguin

Ash level $50 - $99

  • Matt Costanza
  • Luke Costanza
  • Vincent Chiang
  • Sam Strabala
  • Anne-Marie Smit
  • Stan Kwasny

Additional financial support

  • Timothy McGee
  • Calhoun Honeycutt
  • Patrick Armstrong
  • Tracy Borneman
  • Carter Coe
  • Stefan Steenstrup
  • Randy Swaty

Comments from supporters

  • Shaneka Lawson, PhD, USDA Forest Service "Use of social media is likely to recruit a lot of younger scientists to the cause because it has just become "cool" or "trendy" to pay attention to your forests."
  • Steve Kelley, PhD, Professor and Department Head, Forest Biomaterials, North Carolina State University "TreeTaggr can be used by forestry professionals, students, conservationist and citizen scientists to monitor the health and diversity of forest ecosystems across North America."
  • Les Pearson, ArborGen Inc "Millions of people visit our National Parks every year. TreeTaggr will allow visitors to take an active part in helping to maintain the health and beauty of our parks and other natural areas."

Contact us

You can send us a message directly through Twitter @TreeTaggr or use the form below.