This weekend, the New York City Departments of Information Technology & Telecommunications (DoITT) and Parks & Recreation (DPR), along with partner DataKind – a community of data scientists dedicated to solving challenges through data – hosted the first-ever NYC City agency DataDive. The event allowed data enthusiasts to work directly with Parks data on the urban forest to uncover innovative ideas and solutions.

Using a variety of datasets including an NYC tree census (a feed with more than 600,000 of the City’s street trees available on the NYC OpenData portal) Parks asked DataDivers to help with the following challenges:

  •  How has the City’s tree species composition changed over time, and what it will be in the future?
  • How we can predict where our urban forest will be most vulnerable to storms?
  •  Does programmatic maintenance reduce future citizen requests in an area? E.g. tree pruning

Using tools like CartoDB to dynamically map tree data, teams came up with impressive results under tight time constraints. Check out this awesome NYC tree diversity explorer, an early map showing storm damage risk areas, and one team’s process used to investigate the impact of tree pruning.

During the weekend, the teams also took breaks to hear talks and demonstrations by the NYC Mayor’s Office of Policy & Strategic Planning, NYC Center for Innovation through Data Intelligence (CIDI), and Palantir.

Huge thanks to all who participated! Stay tuned for an announcement about the next DataDive in late October 2012.