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Interactive map details thousands of plants, trees in Seattle’s arboretum

Got a favorite cherry tree in the Washington Park Arboretum? Mark it on a new interactive map. (Kurt Schlosser, GeekWire)
Got a favorite cherry tree in the Washington Park Arboretum? Mark it on a new interactive map. (Kurt Schlosser, GeekWire)

Seattle’s sprawling Washington Park Arboretum is a wonderful place to get lost, but a new interactive map for mobile devices will at least ensure that visitors aren’t clueless about the thousands of plants around them.

Every plant and tree that’s part of the Arboretum’s collection is mapped, according to a story from the University of Washington. That collection now numbers more than 15,000 specimens.

Visitors walking a trail in the park can access the map via smartphone or tablet, locate themselves and then locate and identify nearby plants. According to the UW, the map also gives “accession” information, which means the year it was planted and the order in which it was planted in relation to other plants of the same year.

(University of Washington)
Colored dots offer details about each plant, including its scientific and common name and more. (University of Washington)

The map debuted two years ago, but wasn’t optimized for mobile. Tracy Mehlin, information technology librarian at UW Botanic Gardens, managed the project and says a gift from the Northwest Horticultural Society now allows the map to respond much more quickly in the field.

If you’re a fan of a specific magnolia or rhododendron or some other specimen, the map also allows users to save favorites on their device.

The 230-acre arboretum is jointly managed by the UW and the City of Seattle. The city owns the land and the university owns all the trees and plant collections. The two entities divide management and maintenance responsibilities.

Source: Geekwire Mobile

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