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What Big Data Tell Us About Trees and the Sky in the Cities


Since Google Street View (GSV) was launched in 2007, its cars have been collecting millions of photographs in hundreds of cities around the world. In New York City alone, there are about 100,000 sampling points, with six photographs captured in each of them, totaling 600,000 images. In London, this number reaches 1 million images. The GSV fleet now also includes bicycles, trolleys (for indoor spaces), snowmobiles, and “trekkers” (for areas inaccessible by other modes). Using the images to fly over the Grand Canyon, visit historic landmarks in Egypt, discover national parks in Uganda, or circulate through the streets of Moscow, although great experiences, explore only the most immediate and visual aspects of the images. Such an overwhelming abundance of images becomes much more interesting when we consider them as a rich source of urban information.

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    Treepedia project is available at

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    We are grateful to Ricardo Álvarez and Xiaojiang Li for some of the ideas discussed here; and to Lenna Johnsen for revising the paper.


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Correspondence to Fábio Duarte .

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Duarte, F., Ratti, C. (2018). What Big Data Tell Us About Trees and the Sky in the Cities. In: , et al. Humanizing Digital Reality. Springer, Singapore.

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