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The Open University, in partnership with Forest Research and Treeconomics, has recognised the need to better educate people about the role of trees in the community, and the neccessity of involving citizens in their protection and conservation.
In June 2013, the partnership launched Treezilla: a free, online multi-purpose platform designed to support tree-related science projects as part of the Open Science Laboratory in the Science Faculty of the Open University.
This project began in June 2013 and is ongoing.
This work is part-funded by the Forestry Commission, in partnership with the Open University and Treeconomics.
The objective is to create an online map of all the trees in the UK that can be used for 5 types of activity: Education, Outreach, Research, Inventory and Biological Surveillance.
In February 2016, the ViTAL project received NERC funding to expand the functionality and coverage of Treezilla.
Through the COMMUNITREE project, funded by the Geospatial Commission, a new app and webmap were developed to make it easier for contributors to add trees to Treezilla. Intelligent Tree Data Validation was developed to check tree data as it is entered in Treezilla. This is a world first in tree data collection.
The Individual Tree Data Standard will increase the interoperability of tree data, enabling it to be collected once and used many times.
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