As I have mentioned previously, I am a hopeless romantic who can't stop mapping intriguing things. So, while developing new analytical approaches for measuring urban vitality is interesting, perhaps far more approachable is mapping and analyzing Vancouver's abundant and life-affirming cherry blossom trees.
Now, while the fine folks over at the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival, have an excellent website and a great map of some favorite trees, they don't have any handy cartography that can be used to tour the blossoms. So, much like the map I made to help folks ride the ales, I figured I would use the integrative power of GIS to make some figure that would help people find the trees they love at the right time of year.
This is actually, less easy then you might imagine. Many do not know this, but there are more than 29,000 cherry (and plum) trees in this fine City. Viewing all of these trees on one map, at one time, is almost impossible. However, from a little bit of research, we do know when most species have historically bloomed in the City. Using blooming period averages I found at VCBF, I was able to determine, on average, how long after the first blossoms of spring every other tree followed. The results are a basic blooming timeline that can then be sequenced into an animation, slide show or movie for easy review and use in the field.
The result are the slides and movie below. What I've tried to do is use "best-available" data to create a best guess at when and where you can find blossoms this spring. Now, I know that this map will not be accurate, so I want to try some participatory GIS to make it better. If you see a tree that is, or is not blooming according to my map, take a photo with your phone's GPS turned on, email it to me, and I will use that information to make my maps better.
In the meantime, enjoy the #SakuraMaps and happy blossom viewing!
UPDATE --- Please use this map here, to review in detail where things are blooming. Drop me an email if you find something out of whack.
The maps above are great, but I wouldn't be doing my job as an analyst if I couldn't mix in a bit of decision support: Therefore, I ran a quick analysis to find the best bike routes for each day of #VanSakura based on total number of trees and blossom trees per km/bike lane. Please be advised that the list below is contingent upon a nicely spaced blooming schedule. I'll update it as real data becomes available.