Geo data-based policymaking: National Tree Canopy Cover Example

Anna Shnaidman, Or Aleksandrowicz, Dariel Renn-Pony, Moshe Yaniv, Medad Hoze, Morel Weisthal

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


In the era of global challenges, such as climate change and more frequent extreme weather events, geospatial data plays a crucial role in providing insights and facilitating informed decision-making processes and the establishment of long-term strategies. Israel has high predisposition to be adversely affected by the anticipated climate changes. Therefore, mitigation and adaption measures are to be taken to ensure healthy and sustainable living environment in the long run.
Trees were recognized as a critical resource and infrastructure to be preserved and expanded, as they contribute greatly to the habitability of cities. This paper demonstrates the importance of spatial data in creation of people-centered solutions. To facilitate the adoption of effective tree planting policies in cities, a National Tree Canopy map database has been created. The project was carried out by the Survey of Israel in collaboration with the Technion, actualizing the Governmental Decision 1022 by the Israeli Government: Shading and Cooling of the Urban Space by means of Urban Forestry as an Adaptation Step toward Climate Change.
First, AI techniques were employed on high-resolution orthophotos for efficiently extracting raw, vector-based mapping of tree canopies across the metropolitan centers in Israel. The algorithm utilizes a Machine Learning Mask-R Convolution Neural Network model.
Based on the raw mapping data, it was then possible to calculate Tree Canopy Cover values for cities, neighborhoods, public spaces, and individual street segments. Furthermore, Summer Shade Index values maps were generated per street segments as well as entire neighborhoods, thus creating maps that expose the hierarchies of shade tree allocation across urban areas.
High-resolution tree canopy cover mapping can serve local authorities in adopting informed and evidence-based policies regarding urban forests and pursue efficient monitoring and management of their stocks of shade-providing trees. By applying tree canopy cover mapping on a national scale, it would be also possible to expose inherent and systematic deficiencies in tree shade provision between urban settlements resulting from past national and local planning policies, to allocate resources for intensified urban tree planting in locations of high vulnerability to heat, and to effectively follow positive or negative changes in tree canopy cover and their relation to public investment.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 28 May 2023
EventFIG working week 2023: Protecting our world, conquering new frontiers - Orlando, United States
Duration: 28 May 20231 Jun 2023


ConferenceFIG working week 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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