Urban heat and tree canopy mapping

Understanding the extent of tree canopy, green spaces, permeability, building footprints and urban heat across our city.

We have coordinated the Urban Heat and Tree Canopy Mapping Project to map the urban forest and built environment across metropolitan Adelaide.

The Urban Heat and Tree Canopy Mapping Project was undertaken in 2022, using multispectral imagery, LiDAR technology and thermal imagery to map tree canopy, green spaces, built environment and urban heat islands across the entire metropolitan Adelaide footprint.

This data was then analysed to calculate the percentage and total area of canopy cover, green cover, permeable and impermeable surfaces, and building footprint across the study area.

Coordinated by Green Adelaide, the study is the first time that local and state government have partnered to capture tree canopy data for the entire metropolitan Adelaide area in a single study to provide a regionally consistent dataset and full picture of the urban environment.

Tree canopy cover across Adelaide

It gives us an indication of the current state of Adelaide’s urban forest and will help prioritise urban greening action as part of the development of the Urban Greening Strategy for metropolitan Adelaide, which aims to drive coordinated practical action to increase tree canopy and decrease hard surfaces.

This study also builds on a range of projects undertaken by local government between 2016 and 2020 and may form the baseline of an ongoing monitoring cycle.

Note: ‘Tree canopy’ refers to trees 3m tall or greater. This is the threshold at which trees are considered to provide shading and cooling benefits to the surrounding area.

This project was led by Green Adelaide in partnership with the Department for Environment and Water, and 18 local governments across metropolitan Adelaide, the Department for Infrastructure and Transport and Preventive Health SA (formerly Wellbeing SA).

The data

The main findings of the 2022 data for metropolitan Adelaide are:

  • 16.7% is covered in tree canopy – approximately 13,000 times the size of Adelaide Oval
  • 29% is made up of impermeable surfaces, like roads, buildings and other hard surfaces
  • 67% is made up of permeable surfaces, like bare earth, grassed areas and vegetation.

The 2022 data has been used to measure change for areas where data was previously captured in 2018 and 2019. It shows that for metropolitan Adelaide:

  • tree canopy has increased by about 4%, which is generally along local streets and reserves
  • there are still localised areas of loss, generally in residential areas where there is a high demand for land for housing and along some major arterial roads that have undergone infrastructure upgrades.
Example of tree canopy gain (shown in green) and loss (shown in red).

More information

Click on 'Detailed data' below to access the Urban Heat and Tree Mapping Viewer on Enviro Data SA and see the data captured for this project, as well as the results of an analysis to compare changes over time. A copy of the technical reports for tree canopy and urban heat for metropolitan Adelaide is also available on Enviro Data SA.

For more information about tree canopy and urban heat, click on 'Learn more'.