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.
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.
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.