Preparing for Spring

A Ginko in Winter

A Ginko in Winter

You might not recognize that skeleton: it’s the same tree shown in the header above and on the opening screen of the app. I took this photo a few weeks ago, and I’m already seeing little signs of spring, even during my last slushy-ice walk by it.

All the tiny green shoots starting to appear around town have served as a reminder to me: I need to update the PDX Trees blog!

By the Numbers

PDX Trees just surpassed 600 downloads! I haven’t done much in the way of promotion, so I think it’s been mostly word of mouth. Thanks to all of you who have downloaded the app and told your friends about it.

The quality and number of tree photos that have been sent in by people using the app is really impressive. I’ve received 161 photos of 79 different trees, despite the winter weather, and I’ve had to update those numbers three times since I started drafting this post.

The new website (see below) will showcase the images submitted so far, and allow everyone to view and contribute photos — even without an iPhone or iPod Touch.

I’m eager to see the images that will arrive with spring. Please keep them coming!

Global Trees

I’d hoped that people curious about or planning a trip to Portland might find the app interesting, and I’m really excited about the international interest the app has received.

So far, about ten percent of the downloads have been to people outside the US, from more than a dozen countries, including the UK, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Argentina, Turkey, China, India, Korea and, of course, our neighbors in Canada. (A special hello to both Egyptians using PDX Trees — all the best, and please stay safe!)

It’s inspiring to know the app is giving people all over the world a view of Portland’s trees, whether they are able to visit us or not.

The iPad

When I released PDX Trees last October, the app wasn’t iPad-compatible because it required iOS 4.0 or higher, and iPads were still limited to version 3.2. That changed in November with the release of iOS 4.2, and I’m happy to report that the app works just fine on the iPad. The only limitation at the moment is that the iPad doesn’t have a camera, but you can still submit photos from your photo albums. In fact, several people have done so.

At some point in the future, I’d like to do a Universal version of the app that makes full use of the iPad’s screen. Speaking of which…

A New Release

I’ve been working on an upgrade for the app, and hope to have it in the App Store sometime in March.

I’m not sure exactly what will make the cut, but at a minimum, I’m hoping to include the eight newly-designated trees and a search by common name or scientific name, as well as a few bug fixes.

I’ve also recently had the pleasure of meeting Phyllis Reynolds, Heritage Tree Committee Chair from 1999 – 2006 and one of the authors of Trees of Greater Portland.

She has graciously offered to review and correct some of the address information for the trees. We’ve discussed some ways to classify and organize the trees into lists, so that you could, for example, view a map of all the elms, regardless of their exact species.

A New Website

I’m also planning to add an interactive map to the PDX Trees website that features contributed photos. I’m not sure of the exact timeframe, but the map will be similar to the Portland Poetry Posts website I just launched.

I’ll announce it here when it’s available.

If you have any suggestions or questions about the app or the website, please let me know!

Late breaking: I just got an email from a friend telling me that Oregon Field Guide ran a story about Heritage Trees last night. Here’s the video:

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Heritage Trees Data

If you’re interested in working with the City of Portland’s heritage tree data, here’s yet another option.

The City released the data as part of Civic Apps project, and Max Ogden imported it into PDXAPI.

From there, I pulled JSON for all of the details, and imported it into Core Data so I could query it locally on the iPhone. This zip file (111k) contains the data in JSON and SQLite/Core Data formats, as well as the Core Data model files I used to import it into my Xcode projects.

I’d love to hear about any thing you make with it.

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