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By Nick Kreevich, Arboretum cartographer & plant recorder
We’ve recently put together a new interactive map highlighting What’s in Bloom on the Arboretum’s homepage.
If you already had the opportunity to check out our new comprehensive map application developed by the U-Spatial group at the University of Minnesota, then you may already be familiar with the multiple functions available. If not, I’m here to give an in-depth look and explanation of the ‘What’s in Bloom’ layer within the new map application.
Our new What’s in Bloom feature is designed to highlight the most interesting plants and gardens that are currently blooming at the Arboretum. Over the course of the growing season, this feature will change and evolve, with new points of interest added to the interactive map each week. We have already added a couple of early spring bloomers to our map with their location in the garden, as seen in the image below.
One of the great features of this map is that you can allow it to use your phone’s GPS to locate where you are in the garden. By enabling your GPS location, you can see where you need to walk to find flowers in peak bloom. Below, I’ve highlighted the button to press that allows your phone to access your location in the garden. We recommend using this location feature before accessing the layers on the map.
Once you’ve enabled your GPS location, you can access the layer list to turn on and off the different location-based features, such as ‘What’s in Bloom’ or ‘Bee-Line Shuttle stops,’ on the map. The layer list can be found in the upper right hand corner of the application (the icon looks like a stack of three squares). Once you click this icon, a list will appear, and then you can activate the ‘What’s in Bloom’ layer by clicking the checkbox next to the text. As shown in the two photos above, once the layer is activated, purple markers show up on the map, which represent a garden or plant that is in bloom.
When you access the layer list, you can see other location features that provide self-guided tours of different features found at the Arboretum. The ‘Harrison Sculptures’ layer allows you to see the locations and descriptions of all the sculptures located in the Harrison Sculpture Garden. The ‘Facilities’ layer shows where you can find bathrooms, picnic areas and parking locations. Make sure to explore all of these layers when checking out the new ‘What’s in Bloom’ layer in the comprehensive map application.
Once you have activated the ‘What’s in Bloom’ layer, you can access a couple more functions. If you look at the far left upper corner, you will notice some other icons.The magnifier icon is particularly useful for the ‘What’s in Bloom’ layer. This icon allows you to choose/search which blooming plants are shown on the map. Once you have picked what you want to show on the map, the purple markers will appear to show the location of selected plants or gardens currently in bloom. See the photo below for step-by-step instructions on using the search feature.
One last feature I wanted to mention with this layer is the dialog pop-ups that appear when you click on a purple marker. These dialog boxes include a short description about the garden or plant that is currently blooming and a photograph of that plant or garden so you know what to look for. On a tablet or computer, the dialog box will automatically populate with the photo and description. If you are using the application on a mobile device, only the name of the plant and an arrow will appear when you click on the purple marker. You can click on the arrow, which will take you to a new window that shows the plant or garden photo and description. The image on the left below shows the tablet/desktop version with the pop-up box, and the image on the right shows the mobile version with the pop-up box.
As you can see, this is an amazingly robust application, and we look forward to providing updates to the ‘What’s in Bloom’ layer as the growing season progresses. Whether you are at home or in the gardens, you can always see what’s blooming at the Arb.
About the author | Nick Kreevich started working at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in July of 2019 as the cartographer and plant recorder. He works in the curatorial department and assists the curator with managing and mapping the plant collections on the grounds. Kreevich hails from Kentucky and graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in cartography.