OKI’s New Digital Tree Tool Calculates Tangible Benefits of Planting
Cincinnati, Ohio – Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) is introducing a new tool today for tree lovers and community tree distributors.
Designed by OKI’s GIS Department, Tree For Me is a web-based tree benefits calculator. The tool estimates stormwater, air quality, and carbon dioxide benefits at any location in the Greater Cincinnati area.
The free tool is available at https://www.oki.org/portfolio-items/tree-for-me/.
Tree For Me is being launched today to coincide with tomorrow’s National Arbor Day.
Travis Miller, OKI’s regional planning manager, said the tool is for anyone considering investing in a new tree, adding that it is “quite simple and easy to use.”
A user selects a tree species common in the region and that is to be planted in a location of their choosing. Images and descriptions of each species help the user select the most suitable tree for that particular spot.
“In the beginning, we worked with Taking Root and other partners to develop a simple and useful tool that would more efficiently manage community tree distributions,” Miller explained. “We quickly
realized the value such a tool could bring to anyone thinking about planting a new tree.”
The benefits a tree can give a yard extends “well beyond aesthetics. As you’ll see when you use this tool, a tree helps slow stormwater runoff, improve the air around us, and even helps reduce energy costs,” he added.
“Tree For Me will greatly enhance the Taking Root Tree Canopy program as we distribute trees in local communities,” said Kristopher Stone, director of the Boone County Arboretum. “Residents will be able to see pictures of the tree and get details about its growth habits to determine the best tree choice for their yard.”
Innovative Tools to Enjoy Ohio River, Find EV Charging Station, and More
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, OKI has been working throughout the pandemic to produce innovative tools to improve the quality of life and the economic vitality of the region.
Following are summaries and links to our most recent maps and apps:
Ohio River Recreation Digital Guide:
Description: The Ohio River Recreation Digital Guide is a user-friendly, real-time resource and planning guide for anyone who wants to explore the Ohio River and the communities along its shore, whether by water or land. The guide identifies amenities such as marinas, boat ramps, fuel docks, campgrounds, parks, bike trails and historical points of interests on and along the Ohio River Recreation Trail’s (ORRT) 274-mile stretch, from Portsmouth, Ohio, to West Point, Ky. The guide includes links to the websites of river communities, enabling travelers to explore lodging and restaurant options, as well as special events, history and other attractions of each town. The U.S. Coast Guard supports the guide, impressed with its focus on river and boater safety.
OKI EV Charging Station Locator:
Description: The OKI EV Charging Station Locator map can be used to find ideal locations for both level 2 and DC fast charging stations across the Greater Cincinnati Region. Simply enter an address or pick a location on the interactive map and the app returns a detailed EV Charger analysis of the location. The analysis includes nearby traffic counts, amenities (malls, shopping centers & restaurants), the distance to the nearest EV charging station, the distance to the nearest EV alternative fuel corridor, the highest functional classified roadway within a quarter mile and a detailed map of the location.
Urban Heat Island Tool:
Description: OKI’s Urban Heat Island Map tool finds areas most impacted by the urban heat island effect. Since the cause of UHI are large parking lots and buildings, the most effective solutions for communities is to use zoning to minimize building footprints and the size of parking lots to the extent practical, then use/require shade trees in and around these structures to help mitigate the effect. The map identifies the areas within a community that are currently most impacted, and what types of land use are associated with these “hot spots.”
Fiscal Impact Analysis Model:
Description: OKI’s Fiscal Impact Analysis Model (FIAM) is a “new and improved” tool, and a free service for scenario-planning designed specifically for local governments. It gives decision-makers a better understanding of the budgetary implications of land-use proposals. The tool can help guide land use policy decisions; allow for an integration of land use and budget considerations; bring a realistic sense of the costs of growth into the public discussion; and gain an understanding of the likely demands for services and capital facility impacts.