Campus Tree Mapping


The OSU Campus Tree Inventory was started in 2011 after two large sycamore trees, both close to 60 inches in diameter, were almost bulldozed to build a temporary construction road near the medical center complex. Two employees at the medical center spearheaded an online petition to save the trees, and after collecting over 1500 signatures and discussions with OSU President Gordon Gee, the trees were saved successfully.  After this, it was realized that a greater effort needed to be made to protect the trees on the campus of The Ohio State University even as necessary development of campus continues.  Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens partnered with the university landscape architect to identify and map all of the trees on campus, with the goal of obtaining Tree Campus USA certification from the Arbor Day Foundation.  

To become a "Tree Campus", a university must have an active tree advisory committee, a campus tree care plan, an annual tree management budget, an Arbor Day observance, and a tree-related service and learning project for students, faculty, and staff. Chadwick Arboretum has stepped up and met these requirements with programs such as ArboBlitz, annual Arbor Day celebrations, and weekly volunteer events with STICKS (Sustainable Tree Inventory CareKeeperS) that allows volunteers and students to work hands-on with Chadwick Arboretum staff to identify, measure, and map trees.  Thanks to these efforts, student employees, staff members, and volunteers had mapped, identified, evaluated health, and measured the diameter for nearly 4,000 trees after the first full year of tree mapping.  Receiving its first Tree Campus USA certification in 2012, The Ohio State University has continually met the required standards and is still certified today. 

Today and the Future

Chadwick Arboretum continues to encourage public involvement with our trees. Every Friday as weather permits, Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens hosts a tree inventory event where our staff works with volunteers to map a specific section of campus.  For more information on how to get involved with this event, contact Christina Voise at or visit the Chadwick Arboretum Events page

As of August 2014, over 16,000 trees and woody plants have been recorded on campus and throughout the arboretum.  Currently, Chadwick Arboretum uses a two-step system to map trees, using aerial paper maps in the field and updating the digital campus map afterwards. Chadwick Arboretum, in collaboration with the OSU Geography Department, is in the process of developing a mobile application that will allow trees to be mapped instantly through the use of an iPad. This will move the tree mapping into real time and help to keep the tree inventory continuously up to date.

Maps and Databases

Chadwick Arboretum manages our trees through ArcGIS, a geographic informational system that allows us to generate, update, and store digital maps with specific data for each tree.  Our maps and databases are available for viewing at:

Tree Inventory Progress

ArcGIS Chadwick Arboretum

If you are interested in learning more about GIS, visit UCDavis Public Gardens GIS website.