211 AN EXPERT SYSTEM FOR URBAN TREE SELECTION

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  • 1 Environmental Horticulture Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

This computer program, delivered-on a CD-ROM disc, develops a list of tree species and cultivars suited for a specific planting site. It requires little previous computer experience or tree knowledge to operate. Using multiple choice questions, the program automatically brings the user through above ground and below ground site analysis. This includes all the considerations known to influence proper species section for a planting site. Using C++ programming and the NASA-developed expert system shell called CUPS, a list of facts is generated as the user answers the questions. At the press of a button, the program finds trees that match the attributes the expert system placed on the facts list. The list can be further modified by choosing among ornamental and other tree attributes that might be of interest to the user. The tree list can be printed in several seconds. A typical run through the expert system takes 2 to 4 minutes to answer about 20 to 25 questions. The program contains data on 681 trees, more than 1,800 color photographs, and a 4-page fact sheet including 3 line drawings for each tree totaling more than 2,000 pages. The program can also be used as a reference by paging through the tree records to find information about specific trees. Each tree record lists on the computer monitor a large variety of data for the tree, allows you to view text about the tree, displays a line drawing of the entire tree, and displays up to seven photographs of each tree. The program will be distributed nationwide as a tool to help landscape architects, horticulturists and others select the right tree for the right place.

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