On my morning commute I read about Betaville - "an open-source multiplayer environment for real cities, in which ideas for new works of public art, architecture, urban design, and development can be shared, discussed, tweaked, and brought to maturity in context, and with the kind of broad participation people take for granted in open source software development."
From what I read it seems to provide a platform for any interested party to provide a model of their urban design and see how it fits within the surrounding environment. It also supports discussion and collaboration between parties so potentially multiple iterations of a design can be undertaken (at a low cost) before the formal planning and design process begins. It can take models from tools such as Sketchup and Maya.
From the main site: "Urban street trees have myriad proven benefits for communities including providing shade, improving air quality, assisting with stormwater runoff, raising property values, decreasing utility bills, and enhancing the look and feel of communities. While tree inventories provide municipalities with vital data to consult when managing the urban forest, creating a complete inventory is a time consuming and resource intensive process. OpenTreeMap provides an easy-to-use public inventorying platform that enables individuals, organizations, and governments to collaboratively contribute to an interactive and dynamic map of a community’s tree population. OpenTreeMap can be used in a single municipality or cover a broader geographic region with many communities.
From the official site: "The goal of this project was generate a current, consistent, and seamless circa 2001-2002 map of urban, built-up and settled areas for the Earth’s land surface. This work builds on previous mapping efforts using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data at 1-km spatial resolution (Schneider et al., 2003; 2005), which was included as part of the MODIS Collection 4 (C4) Global Land Cover Product (Friedl et al., 2002). Here we addressed weaknesses in the first map as well as several limitations of contemporary global urban maps by developing a methodology that relies solely on newly released Collection 5 (C5) MODIS 500-m resolution data."
Does anyone knows how this dataset compares to GlobCover 2009's urban class?
This is not newly available datasets, but they recently came to my attention and since we never mentioned them before, they might be of interest to some of our users: the Gridded Population of the World, version 3 (GPWv3) and the Global Rural-Urban Mapping Project (GRUMP) datasets.
From the official page: "GPWv3 depicts the distribution of human population across the globe. It is the most detailed
version of GPW to date with more than three times the amount of data as version 2, and includes population estimates to 2015. GRUMP builds on GPWv3 by incorporating urban and rural information, allowing new insights into urban population
distribution and the global extents of human settlements."