TURLOCK (CBS13) – A new way to learn about all the trees that fill the campus of California State University Stanislaus is also being used to design the future of its campus.

The tool was developed by a student who made it accessible on people’s smart phone, laptop and tablet.

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It’s safe to say German Silva, a senior at California State University, Stanislaus, knows his trees.

There are approximately 3,543 trees planted around campus.  Silva keeps track of them all with a new interactive tree story map he helped create using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology.

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“The staff use the map to see where trees are, and what types of trees aren’t doing so well in our climate, what trees are doing well with our ecosystem, and helps us plan to see which areas should be planning better for,” he said.

GIS captures, stores and manages data that allows users to learn and analyze.

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“People are now able to interact with the trees on the web map, which they are able to still learn what the trees looks like, what does its leaves look like, what does its bark look like.  They are able to practice those tree identification skills,” said Silva.

The system shows users where the most trees are planted on campus.  It can even tell you the amount of shade each tree provides.  The map will help university staff make decisions about the future of the campus landscape, Silva said.

“We have 102 different types of trees, but the most are…redwoods, we also have a lot of sequoia trees, and a lot of ginkgo trees as well,” he said.

Silva worked with botany professors to identify each species of tree. Stanislaus State is now considering expanding its map to include shrubs.

“Having a place here in the Central Valley that is classified as an urban forest really showcases how important trees are to an urban ecosystem,” said Silva.

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Professors say the tree map is used inside several classrooms to teach students how to track plant health and learn about the evolutionary history of the trees.