Are you an azalea lover? Can't get enough willow trees in your life? You're in luck. The Washington Park Arboretum is digitizing its plant records to create a map that will be searchable with your smartphone, so you can pinpoint something you want to see, identify a mystery tree, or take a plant tour.
Since it opened in 1934, the Washington Park Arboretum has been home to thousands of plant collections and species, each with a meticulously kept record and history.
The University of Washington Botanic Gardens started work last August on a two-year project to digitize those records and create an interactive geographic information systems map for the entire park. Eventually planners and visitors will be able to go online and pinpoint specific plants and collections within the Arboretum, and access all sorts of historical details.
“People will be able to find an area in the arboretum, then zoom down and see which plants are there,” says Tracy Mehlin, project manager and information technology librarian at the UW’s Center for Urban Horticulture. “It will be really fascinating and educational to have all of that history linked to the plant records, and accessible online to everyone.”