Washington DC

This map visualizes street greenery in Washington, DC ... more

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"When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear."

-Maya Angelou

Trees provide us shade, fresh air, and beauty. They create places to be in, to lean on, and to pass through. And they remind us of our essential connection with nature, and with one another. Trees can make a city feel alive, and places with no trees can feel barren.

This map visualizes the approximate amount of greenery on the streets in Washington DC. On the map, the relative amount of greenery at each point is represented by a marker's size and opacity.

To create this map, we crawled Google Street View images, and then ran a simple probabilistic classifier to approximate the amount of visible plant life for each street. These maps are approximate, in part because of seasonal changes and weather conditions, yet they give us a sense of which streets are full of life. The histogram in the lower left-hand corner gives a distribution of street greenery. The left-hand side of the histogram represents the number of streets with low levels of street greenery, and the right-hand side of the histogram represents the number of streets with a high levels of street greenery. Clicking on a bar in the histogram shows all the streets at that level, and clicking on a street on the map will highlight where in the histogram that street belongs.

Data Sources

  1. Google Maps StreetView Image API
  2. Washington DC GIS Data program