In January 2016, trees mysteriously disappeared in a public greenbelt in urban Seattle, unbeknownst to the city.
Seattle is known as the Emerald City due to its high coverage of trees even in the urban areas.
Despite being a place where trees are protected, illegal tree cuts can still happen. Unauthorized removals, however, remain very hard to detect, since they usually occur on a small scale.
Using ShowMySite, it is possible to see even small differences in forests from the sky. Here in the greenbelt, many publicly owned trees were removed without proper permitting. On the left is a snapshot of the trees on June 20th, 2015 before cuttings happened, showing a lush green forest behind the row of houses in the center. On the right is a snapshot from May 7th, 2016, where the light tan areas show the extent of the damage.
ShowMySite grants access to the most accurate and frequently updated high-resolution satellite imagery in RGB format over their area of interest. With a resolution up to 0.31 meters, the images in the ShowMySite catalog are crisp enough to show buildings, the status of construction work, or changes of detailed changes in the landscape. The service provides highly accurate, orthorectified images that are mosaicked to deliver a seamless base map with nearly worldwide coverage.
The full extent of the damage was not discovered until later: over an acre (0.4 ha) of trees were removed from the hillside. Some 150 maple and willow trees were cut down to improve views for neighbors on the top of the hill.
Immediate assessments were in the millions of dollars, and residual damages to the urban forest and landslide potential for the busy arterial road below remain. In rainy and hilly Seattle, trees play a key role in stabilizing steep slopes, preventing landslides and protecting property. In an effort to deter private citizens from damaging public property, a hefty fine was leveraged against those involved in the cutting.
Luckily, restoration efforts by the city and volunteers are well underway and the forest is recovering with the funds from the fine.
ShowMySite is an incredible resource for government agencies, real estate brokerages, insurance companies, construction, NGOs, or anyone interested in monitoring the development of a specific site.
Using a browser, the easy-to-use client does not require the professional knowledge of image processing and can monitor any plot of land from the Amazon Rainforest to your backyard.
Access high-resolution of satellite imagery over aerial photography easily available with a flexible subscription period anywhere you have internet access. Reduce costs for your monitoring project anywhere in the world. No expensive software licenses! Just complete the order process, log on, and view any site immediately and download satellite imagery.
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