Visualising Melbourne’s Urban Forest
- OOM Creative
- Nice Device
- City of Melbourne
Visualising Melbourne’s Urban Forest uses unique data visualisations and interactive maps to raise public awareness of the issues facing Melbourne’s Urban Forest. It allows citizens through state-of-the-art web, map and geolocation technology, to see the health status of any one of the 70,000 trees managed by the City of Melbourne. The platform allows users to engage and connect directly with the Urban Forest Team, and to play a part in the future management of the city’s forest. Visit melbourneurbanforestvisual.com.au
A key opportunity of this project was to communicate through data, and make accessible a unique and timely dataset: an audit and lifetime assessment of every tree managed by the City of Melbourne. With an initial scoping process, and consequence design development, the project developed a distinctive design language to coherently render this data through maps and data visualisations. These visualisations enable users to see the state of the city trees at a glance, and then easily grasp the main issues facing the future management of the urban forest through the website design.
This project reinforces the City of Melbourne as innovators and thought leaders in urban forestry. The design has received positive feedback from peers in other international urban forest departments, for example an email from the City of New York stated ‘It is one of the best municipal urban forestry interfaces we have seen.’ The digital design enables the Urban Forest Team to communicate through data and lets citizens directly engage and give feedback on this information, inherently making the data more accurate and manageable into the future.
This project is now an integral part of the Urban Forest Team’s public consultative efforts. The digital platform and content is designed to develop as workshop consultations occur in ever city precinct over a three-year period. Forthcoming workshops are advertised on the website providing pre and during workshop information. Post workshop the website gallery sections are used to show imagery and documentation from the developed precinct plans. The interactive map is also database driven and enables the easy updating of tree information connected to the City of Melbourne’s geospatial information systems.
We discovered early in the project two main insights: firstly, that the interactive map of trees was going to be the central element for users to understand the scale of the urban forest issues, and secondly, that the project required a website design that could change over time. The former required the use of leading edge browser based web and database technology (CartoDB) as a cross platform solution, and the latter, required a clear component based design approach for the structuring of the digital information which also works across mobile and desktop formats.