How would you use an interactive map in the Arboretum?

August 20th, 2013 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

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Georeferenced Database Project Update

After a year of surveying Washington Park Arboretum grid points and digitizing paper maps we have made substantial progress on our georeferenced database project. The first few hundred points were relatively easy to survey. Now remain the most difficult points to find or see with a clear line of sight from a control point. Ground nesting bees and wasps also make getting close to a point challenging to say the least.

We need volunteers! Contact Tracy Mehlin.

UW Botanic Gardens Director, Sarah Reichard, talks with UWTV about her vision for an interactive Arboretum map in this video.

How would you use an interactive map in the Arboretum? What do you want to know about the collections? Leave a comment to let us know.

Click to see photo close-ups

Project accomplishments by the numbers

  • Migrated 20,000 records from the Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium database into the BG-Base database
  • 25% of Herbarium database records post migration validated against physical specimens
  • 85% of grid points surveyed
  • 40% of paper grid maps digitized in ArcMap (geodatabase)
  • 6006 out of 18,094 plant specimens have been entered into the geodatabase

Historic Records to be made accessible

The Arboretum Foundation has agreed to give $15,000 to digitize historic paper records from the Curation office. These historic records provide critical clues about the identification and origin of trees and woody plants in the collection. By digitizing the records staff can access the old handwritten note cards and ledgers from their desk and once integration is complete the records will be accessible to everyone. UW Libraries staff will digitize the records and record basic information about each file.

An accession card from 1948.

An accession card from 1948.

This project is funded by a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

 

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In the Arboretum with the total station and other milestones

November 30th, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

The Leica Builder theodolite is a central part of the total station.

In August 2012 UWBG was awarded a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to create a georeference database of the living collections. The first phase involves surveying in the Washington Park Arboretum.

Where are the monuments?

On a sunny autumn day a team of UW students, UWBG staff and team leader Jim Lutz headed down the East Arboretum trail to the Meadow with a shiny, new total station. They were on a mission to track down monuments that define the grid used to map Arboretum plant accessions. Once a monument was found they used the total station to determine the location in real space. (more photos below)

Total what?

A total station is a collection of equipment, such as a Leica Builder theodolite, tribrach, tripods, and prisms, that is used to measure distance and slope. A team of two or three people use it together to measure coordinates. Most of us have seen a total station in use by transportation survey crews. Low tech equipment like measuring tapes and marking paint are also used to do the job.

Making progress: georeferenced database project milestones

After months of preparation the  Otis Douglas Hyde Herbarium records are now integrated into the BG-Base plant records database which means that a search now returns records for both plant accessions and vouchers. Vouchers are pressed plant material that serve to document and archive living collections while also supporting species identification.

Another milestone completed was scanning the print copies of grid squares. These print maps record where individual trees and shrubs grow with a dot and accession ID number. As plants are added, moved or removed the print maps are redrawn with updated information. As grid corner monuments are surveyed the corresponding scanned map will then be imported as a layer into ArcGIS Desktop and each plant accession will be clicked to essentially digitize the print map.

This is a portion of grid 35-2E. The scanned maps will be digitized the information incorporated into the georeferenced database.

The green dots represent the monuments recently surveyed and entered into an ArcGIS Map project with layers of city streets, park trails, an aerial view and the Arboretum grid map.

November 10th day in the field photos

 


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IMLS grant funds geo-referenced, integrated database

October 8th, 2012 by Tech Librarian, Tracy Mehlin

In July 2012 the Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded a Museums for America grant to UW Botanic Gardens to integrate an all-inclusive database, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology. The multi-part project will ultimately allow for one point of access to herbarium, horticultural and curitorial records linked to an Arc-GIS generated map, searchable from any web-connected devise. The database will be used to advance environmental research, improve Arboretum management and expand interpretation of the woody plant collections.

The first major task starting as soon as survey equipment arrives will be to measure and verify the geospatial coordinates of the physical monuments of the historic grid system used in the Washington Park Arboretum. These coordinates will be used to create a map that supports the geo-referenced database.


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