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Increasing urban tree coverage and shade availability is a focal point of many municipal plans in Maricopa County. This project is building a next-generation, publicly accessible, customizable decision support tool for guiding equitable tree and shade investments. The Tree Equity Score Analyzer for Maricopa County (TESA-MC) will be a community-shaped web map and modeling environment that integrates a wide suite of data, modeling, and information technology resources available from Arizona State University, American Forests, municipalities, and other partners.

This project will produce a publicly-accessible web tool (TESA-MC) that integrates a wide suite of data resources to enable unprecedented and customized exploration, querying, and scenario evaluation. American Forests has previously developed a TESA for Rhode Island and is currently developing one for Richmond, VA. TESA-MC will leverage the overall information technology architecture developed for those jurisdictions while integrating the significant data and modeling assets that are uniquely available for Maricopa County from ASU and HUE research.

One of the major technical advances in this project will be the development of high-resolution shade and MRT maps for the entire County and incorporation of those data elements into an interactive public tool. This project scales up shade solutions that have been previously tested with MaRTy to the Phoenix metropolitan area. We will create a digital surface model (DSM) from the most recently-available LiDAR point clouds, calculate the sky view factor, and run a shadow casting algorithm to create hourly shade maps. The fine-scale shade distribution, in combination with information on tree locations from the point cloud classification, will be used to simulate hourly MRT for Maricopa County. Results will be validated using MaRTy observations from the Right Shade in the Right Place study.


  • American Forests
  • City of Phoenix



Healthy Urban Environments


April 2022 — Ongoing