Trees provide value in many realms, including environmental, economic, cultural, and aesthetic. The Ohio State University has pledged to double its overall tree canopy by 2025 and a team of researchers are currently in the planning process for this undertaking.
We are a group of artists, technologists, and scientists who would like to bring this future into view earlier, with the help of augmented reality. In partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences Technology Services, we are developing a free mobile application that will allow smartphone users to see a beautiful, virtual tree canopy and to access information about existing geo-tagged trees as they walk around campus. Through artistic visualizations, scientific data, and “tree-selfies”, our app will emphasize the aesthetic, psychological, environmental, monetary, and personal health benefits of trees. Our aims are four-fold: to increase cultural appreciation of trees in our community, to encourage the preservation of mature, existing trees, to celebrate the upcoming additions to our tree canopy, and to make our experiences of trees more personal.