Alliance for Public Gardens GIS and Plants Map Partner for Mapping

Center_Logo_-_Color_0Plants Map recently had the opportunity to meet with Brian Morgan, Executive Director of the Alliance for Public Gardens GIS (APGG). Brian is a founding member of the Alliance and lead developer for the ArcGIS Public Garden Data Model.

Brian contacted us shortly after we launched Plants Map to learn more about what we were doing and to introduce us to APGG. We learned that since 2007, Brian and the UC Davis Arboretum have led an international team to develop GIS computer mapping tools and resources specifically for public gardens. From the first phone call it was clear we had a common interest: mapping the world’s plants and gardens.

Since that initial phone call we have joined the APGG community as well as the American Public Gardens Association. We want to play a supporting role to both in their missions.

At our recent meeting with Brian we discussed implementing the APGG ArcGIS Public Garden Data Model into our current development plans. Our goal is to provide an introductory, simplified version of mapping your plants and gardens that will be sufficient for most home landscapes and many public collections. Others will probably advance to a more encompassing data model paired with an intensive inventory system. What we intend to build is the ability to sync with existing ArcGIS and other products to allow those plant collections to enjoy social engagement activities on Plants Map. Sort of a ‘check-in’ for trees and the ability to ‘like’ or follow a garden.

What is the Alliance for Public Gardens GIS? The Alliance is a free community of GIS professionals and ‘living collections’ managers. The goal of APGG is to make GIS (geographic information systems) more accessible to a wide range of landscapes and green spaces. This not only includes botanical gardens but also parks, zoos, campuses, conservation and natural lands, as well as private and public managed landscapes. To learn more about the Alliance for Public Gardens GIS visit

What is GIS? A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer system designed to map, model, and analyze geographic data. It is also the academic discipline of working with geographic data.

What is the ArcGis Public Garden Data Model? The ArcGIS Public Garden Data Model is a geo-database for the purpose of mapping plant collections combined with other physical aspects including buildings, irrigation systems, etc. It is based on the widely used ESRI ArcGIS product.

The concept of Plants Map was initially for our own use to organize and map our plants and have mobile access to our collection. We launched the website as Plants Map to connect people with plants as well as public gardens and other green spaces like parks, trails, etc. We wanted to create social plants, mobile gardens, the ability to map collections, and allow interactions and engagement with those plants through our interactive tags & signs.

To date, the purpose of mapping collections has been to manage and maintain those living collections, to inventory them as assets, and provide scientific research and education. We want to help take those mapped collections and bring them together in a social network to collaborate even further and introduce and engage a wider audience to help support and encourage further research and learning about plants, biodiversity, environments, conservation and more.

We have received strong interest from people and organizations wanting to map their collections including invasive plants, gardens visited, memorial trees, urban community gardens, trails, even cemeteries. We feel the wait for ArcGIS to be implemented on Plants Map will be very worthwhile for everyone. We can’t wait to start too!

Did you know November 19 is GIS Day? Discover more about GIS and geography by visiting the website GISday. It’s a worldwide celebration. And of course, there is a map of events! Learn how GIS plays an important role in our lives. Follow #gisday on your favorite social network too.

We invite you to join our map on Plants Map. It’s easy. Sign-in and edit your profile and add a plant, collection, or garden.