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.
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, PwC, Canada
Tag Like a Pro
Here are some tips for making professional quality Tree Tags
Don't forget the basicsYour Tweet must have these things in order for it to validate and be used by TreeTaggr:
- You must be following TreeTaggr on Twitter in order to get verification that your Tree Tag is valid and accepted by the TreeTaggr System
- You must have @treetaggr somewhere in the body of the tweet - preferably at the beginning
- 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.
- There must be a picture of a tree or a tree pest in your Tweet.
- 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 TaggingThe more information you can send the better. Consider adding some or all of these tags:
- #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
- #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.
- 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
- We will be adding more tags to the TreeTaggr System in the future. Join our mailing list (coming soon) to stay in the loop.
Here's what to do if things aren't working properly
Check your phoneYour phone should be updated with the current software to keep it working properly with Twitter:
- 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
- Make sure you have the latest version of Twitter for your phone by downloading and installing the latest version here
- Make sure you are following TreeTaggr on Twitter. This is important so that we can send you a direct Twitter message about your tags
- 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.
The TreeTaggr team and forests everywhere thank you!
Jump to Technical or Individual contributions
Redwood Level $1,000+
- Lori Knowles
- Sofia Valenzuela
- U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities
Kauri Level $250 - $999
- Tim Strabala
- Michael Rodemeyer
- Susan McCord
- Adam Costanza
- Jennifer Costanza
Chestnut Level $100 - $249
- Allison Jordan
- Steven Burke
- Michelle Kwasny
- Armand Seguin
- Richard Rosenweig
- Mary Jeanette Ebanhack
- Michael McCord
Ash Level $50 - $99
- Matt Costanza
- Luke Costanza
- Stan Kwasny
- Vincent Chiang
- Anne-Marie Smit
- Sam Strabala
Additional Financial Support
- Timothy McGee
- Calhoun Honeycutt
- Patrick Armstrong
- Tracy Borneman
- Carter Coe
- Stefan Steenstrup
- Randy Swaty
- Coffee Cup Software Inc. - Software for responsive web and email creation
- Neil Hepburn - TreeTaggr database architect and technical advisor
- Christopher Kampe - Social immersion and interaction advisor
- Matt Costanza - Digital artist and creative strategist
- Ishpal Singh - Azure Integration and Application Architect
- Damian Gomez - WordPress Twitter plugin architect
- Rob Witman - Phone application development process advisor
- Silver Bay Technologies - Android application advisor
- 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."
- Neil Hepburn, Information Management consultant, PwC Canada LLP. "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."
- Adam Costanza, President of the IFB “When we connect smartphones, a geographic database, and people who care about trees, we will have a tool of unprecedented power. TreeTaggr will help track forest health issues and protect Heritage Trees for future generations.”
- Susan McCord, Executive Director of the IFB “TreeTaggr is a great way to engage citizen scientist to help identify forest health problems. It turns a smart phone into a research tool for the betterment of our environment.”
- Lori P. Knowles, Fellow, Health Law Institute, Alberta, Canada, and Chairman of the IFB Board “There is no more pressing need than the need to preserve our trees, for our earth, and ourselves. Any way we can help gather information on the health of trees must be embraced. TreeTaggr is a much needed tool for researchers and citizens who, together, are fighting to save our forest trees.”
- 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."
- Timothy J. Strabala, PhD, Senior Scientist "Crowdsourcing – harnessing the diversity of knowledge, skills and interests of people from all walks of life – has led to stunning breakthroughs for intractable problems in so many fields. Now, with TreeTaggr, we can use this powerful tool of the Internet Age to help protect the health and diversity of a vital resource – our forests."
- 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."
- Malcolm M. Campbell, PhD, Professor & UTSC Vice-Principal Research, University of Toronto "Citizen scientists the world over have had a transformative impact across a remarkable range of disciplines, from astronomy to drug discovery. TreeTaggr provides a new opportunity for citizen scientists to widen their positive impact, to monitor and maintain the health of some of the planet's most important ecosystems, our forests."
- Michael Rodemeyer, Adjunct Professor, Department of Science and Technology, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia "Treetaggr is a great way to engage not only citizen scientists, but everyone else who uses our forests and wants to keep them healthy for generations to come. This tool will help people understand the threats to our forests on a real-time and local scale, while at the same time getting better regional scale information to forest managers."
You can send us a message directly through Twitter @TreeTaggr or use the form below.