Friday, April 23, 2010

Bangalore's very own chip-Ko movement

Bangalore's very own chip-Ko movement
By: Chetan R Date: 2010-04-20 Place: Bangalore

Engineering student to put GPS-enabled chips in 3 lakh trees across city that will closely monitor city's tree population 24X7

Getting away with chopping trees will not be as easy in the days ahead.

Project Tree Call, an initiative of engineering student and wildlife volunteer Vijay Babu S, will see Global Positioning System (GPS) enabled chips embedded in trees that will send distress signals when they are harmed.

"Project Tree Call will be first of its kind.

It will check tree theft and also ensure that the cutting of trees is checked once the systems are in place," said Vijay, a BE student of BNM Institute of Technology, who plans to kick-start the initiative within a year.

Defence personnel remove a tree that fell on the Cubbon Road following thundershowers.

"We will conduct a tree count so we have accurate data on the number of trees, the species and who owns them.

This will give us a clearer picture of the city's tree population.

When we tag all these tress through GPS, we should be able to keep a closer tab on tree felling," said Kiran V, another member of the team of four behind the initiative.

"This is a unique initiative," said Sharath Babu S, chief wildlife warden, BBMP. "The initiative will help track the city's trees population.

Features like E-carding that will be used will help monitor small changes like trimming. This will prove helpful to agencies that have repeatedly failed to check tree theft."

The data collected through the GPS system will be reflected on a website created to update citizens on the state of the city's tree population.

The site will reflect aspects like tree growth curves, climate data, regional patterns of energy use and pollution levels across the city.

Trees that are cut after fulfilling legally stipulated conditions would be compensated for by planting a sapling.

The smallest changes in the city's cover will be reflected on the website, which will also reflect planting of new trees.

Number of trees that will be tagged as part of the Project Tree Call initiative using the longitude-latitude method

Two-phase plan
The first phase of the initiative will involve a taking of tree count across Bangalore's 198 wards.

The trees will be categorised thus “ heritage trees, rare species and species of high value.

Over 3 lakh trees will be GPS-tagged using latitude/longitude method.

Information on the trees will be displayed online. Runners will also monitor the status of trees in their neighbourhoods.

In the next phase, the system will be upgraded with installation of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips in trees.

Such trees, whose locations are already stored after being GPS-tagged, will be monitored through scanners.


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