"Code of ethics" proposed for use of urban tree visualisations

The London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) has today (24 July) launched for industry-wide consultation a new best practice guide on creating artists' impressions of tree planting schemes.

Image: Brisbane City Council (CC BY 2.0)
Image: Brisbane City Council (CC BY 2.0)

As well as their use as a general communication tool, visualisations can help explore different scenarios from different points of view, and identify possible conflicts between trees and other infrastructure, the Visualisation Protocol for urban forestry explains.

They can also be produced by a range of techniques ranging from traditional hand-drawn illustrations to edited photos or 3D graphical simulations - but "if used without careful thought, they can potentially be misleading", it warns.

The guide is aimed to help tree officers "to review, request, commission or produce visualisations and to ensure that they are accurate, representative, easy to understand, interesting and legitimate", and "may also be of value to other professionals involved in the creation of visualisations or who receive such materials within the field of urban forestry, urban planning or landscape architecture", it adds.

The product of the first international LTOA working party, it has been written by Dr Ana Macias of Spanish urban forestry umbrella group Arbocity and Stephen Sheppard of the University of British Columbia, Canada, and has been reviewed and expanded by the LTOA tree officers.

Available for download from the LTOA website, the draft is being disseminated to professionals in arboriculture, urban forestry, landscaping and beyond, with consultation closing on 31 August, and a revised version due to be published later in the year.

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