Lexington Neighborhoods Tree Canopy Study

NRE 355, Introduction to Geospatial Applications for Land Analysis, is a class at the University of Kentucky (UK) that uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to study our environment. Every year NRE 355 constructs various maps centered around an environmental theme. This semester we focus on tree canopy coverage in specific neighborhood associations inside New Circle road in Lexington, Kentucky to feature ecosystem services provided by urban tree canopy. We use ArcGIS software to process vector, raster, GPS, and lidar data that determines vegetation density, tree canopy coverage, and tree height. We publish GeoPDF and interactive maps that show our work.

Our labs
Link to fullscreen map

A large tulip popular in the Ashland Neighborhood

Our Neighborhoods

This tree canopy study was conducted on several different neighborhoods within the area of New Circle road in Lexington, Kentucky.

The neighborhoods involved were:

The neighborhood with the most tree canopy per acre was Ashland Park, while the lowest counted tree canopy per acre was in the MLK Neighborhood. The tallest tree was located in the Ashland Neighborhood, a spruce or tulip poplar measuring, with lidar technology, at 114 feet tall.

Class Labs

This course used ArcGIS’ ArcMap as its primary map-making software. Our initial analysis of neighborhoods inside New Circle Road in Lexington Kentucky.

Lab 1. We created simple base maps of our neighborhood associations and measured the area of our neighborhood in different coordinate reference systems (CRS). We found that the Kentucky single-zone SPCS NAD 83 (EPSG: 3089) was the proper CRS for our study area.

Lab 2.We used ArcGIS Raster calculator to create a Normalized Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI) using red and near-infrared bands found in the National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP). Using 2014 & 2016 imagery, we estimated tree canopy in each neighborhood based on vegetation density and compare it to the 2013 tree canopy study (sources below).

Lab 3. We took to the field, using the smartphone application Avenza Maps to map POIs, or points of interests, completely subjective to the perspective of ourselves. We also pinpointed locations where our NDVI analyses did not register a tree, either completely or partly. We then mapped these POIs and NDVI-missed trees and posted our maps to our individual websites at: sweb.uky.edu/~username/nre355.

Lab 4.We made an analysis and map using lidar elevation data and the NDVI vegetation density layer from Lab 4 to determine the height of all trees in our neighborhoods. We assumed that areas high vertical relief and vegetation density where trees. We then took to the field once more to find these predicted high trees and take pictures. These GPS points of tallest trees, their photos, and new canopy cover from picked NDVI were then mapped and added once again to our individual websites.

Lab 5. We individually took the most pertinent data, tallest trees, and true canopy cover from Lab 4, POIs from Lab 3, zipped, or compressed, it and recreated it on an interactive map-making website CARTO maps, republishing this new map as the final addition to our webpages.

Group project. We created this web page by assembling into teams that write the content, design the page in HTML, edit images, and make new maps as necessaery.

Data Sources

Neighborhood Association polygons, street centerlines, park polygons were downloaded from https://data.lexingtonky.gov/dataset, Lexington's Open Data Portal

Building footprint polygons were downloaded from http://www.openstreetmap.org © OpenStreetMap Contributors

Aerial photography raster dataset is from the National Agricultural Imagery Program (NAIP), 2016, 2014, and 2012 editions, and was downloaded from the REST web service at http://kyraster.ky.gov/arcgis/rest/services

Land cover raster dataset from the "Urban Tree Canopy Assessment and Planting Plan" created by the LFUCG and Davey Resource Group, October 2013, http://previous.lexingtonky.gov/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx@documentid=26521

Lidar data from Kentucky's Aerial Photography and Elevation Data program, 2013, http://kygeonet.ky.gov/kyfromabove

GPS points of interests from the students of NRE 355, fall 2017

Course credits

This website and content is collaborative effort between students.

Writing Team: Adam Bourque, Leandro Braga, Holly Foster, Stephen Frank-Heun, Nicole Funk, Joe Hiltenbrand, Jason Thomas, and Melinda Wolfe
Mapping Team: Richard Helsley, Bryan Kist, Jeffrey McCall, Isaac Marrs, Adam Rogers, and Beck Schultz
Web Team: Arianna Jota, Renato Virto, and Paige Williams
Imagery Team: Sarah Atkins, Sophie Beavin, Jay Fuller, Emily Ingram, Rachael Steffen, Cecelia Tio, Deanna Williams, and Rose Yeley

The content of this site is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.