ArcWatch: GIS News, Views, and Insights

October 2011

Mapping a Hazard in Hawaii

In the early 1900s, the US Forest Service planted more than 100,000 Molucca Albizia seedlings in the Hawaiian Islands. The aim of introducing the nonnative trees was to reforest and beautify the islands.

But while the trees' canopy provides needed shade for coffee and tea plants in parts of Southeast Asia, in the Hawaiian Islands, Molucca Albizia trees now pose what the state's legislature calls a "significant hazard to people and property in various residential and recreational areas." The wood is weak.

During storms or high winds, the trees sometimes uproot or their branches break off, causing property damage, bringing down power lines, and endangering people's lives.

Logan Berner, a Big Island Invasive Species Committee volunteer, used GPS, ArcGIS software, and QuickBird satellite imagery to better determine the extent of the problem posed by the trees in North Hilo on the Island of Hawaii.

Read this article about the project, which won an honorable mention in the International Conservation Mapping Competition this year.

read the article
This map shows the widespread growth of Molucca Albizia trees in Hilo, Hawaii.

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ArcWatch is published monthly by Esri and contains GIS news, practical advice, and updates about the company's software and events. To submit article ideas, e-mail editor Carla Wheeler at

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