May 11, 2011 08:01 ET

Canadian City Goes Out on a Limb with RFID Technology

Fort Saskatchewan using RFID to help grow it's green space.

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - May 11, 2011) - HisTREE.net announced today that it has deployed a radio frequency identification system for the City of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada, and was recently featured in the RFID Journal, the world's leading RFID publication on the uses of RFID technology in today's world. The feature article described how the City of Fort Saskatchewan is using HisTREE.net's RFID solution in the management of trees and assets in parks and open spaces within their municipal environment.

The RFID Journal article states: When city workers maintain their parks and trees they are recording all daily activities with Radio Frequency Identification technology. Fort Saskatchewan, a city just north of Edmonton, is attaching HisTREE.net RFID tags to trees, park furniture equipment, and other city assets. This will allow them to update and maintain city records regarding the park sites, trees, locations, maintenance activities and inspections directly as they happen."

"The city began installing the tags, provided by HisTREE.net™ (a company based in nearby Edmonton) on hundreds of it's trees earlier this year, and is now also attaching the tags to playground equipment, bolting them to garbage cans and burying them underground at city parks, says Chris Enders, the city's Superintendent of parks and facilities management. HisTREE.net™ is also supplying handheld readers and a cloud hosted software application."

The article quotes Enders as saying the solution began simply as a way to track the city's thousands of trees to ensure that they are properly maintained with such services as watering and pruning. When installing new trees in Fort Saskatchewan, developers hire contractors to maintain these trees for the first two years of their lives, before turning their care over to the city with a guarantee that they were well cared for. Without the RFID system, Enders says, the city can merely conduct visual inspections of those trees during that two-year period, checking whether they are being maintained as expected. With the HisTREE.net(TM) system, however, the city can access a record of every tree's maintenance history via a web browser.

Art Maat, president of HisTREE.net said "This new technology brings accountability to the entire green industry when implemented. Traceability and chain of custody can now be part of the urban forest establishment process".

Using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), and GIS or Satellite Mapping, HisTREE.net™ provides an online asset management solution available to any public or private industry sector. Utilizing a wireless mobile data collector, unique identity and location based event data for trees and parks assets, is captured and archived. Stored data is filtered and analyzed through a permissions based secure web portal by nurseries, contractors, consultants and municipalities. The information collected results in the ability to develop better parks management practices.

As city workers maintain playground equipment in Fort Saskatchewan's many parks, they utilize the RFID system to record activities electronically. The City now has a permanent electronic record of its maintenance and inspections activities. This data is useful when making decisions to upgrade, replace, or repair the equipment. In addition, the reports can be used to indicate when a piece of equipment has not been inspected or maintained. Initially, the City is tagging approximately 30 playgrounds.

In the future, Enders told the journal, he envisions using the system to track city signage to keep a record of when signs have been inspected or replaced for safety reasons. He would also like the City to use the tags to track fire-hydrant maintenance and usage by contractors. As well, he is pleased to see that nurseries are starting to supply trees with RFID tags already attached. Since historical data is archived on each tree, Fort Saskatchewan can now view life cycle data for each tree from the time it was planted as a liner at the nursery. The HisTREE.net(TM) net system has been integrated in operations at Western Canada's largest wholesale tree nursery Stewart Brothers Nurseries located in Kelowna, B.C.

The mission of HisTREE.net is to provide simple, cutting edge, tree and asset management solutions to the green industry worldwide.

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