Chicago’s historic Graceland Cemetery is providing visitors a unique way to connect with its renowned beauty by using PlantsMap.com to provide interactive self-guided tours showing photographs and details about the trees in the park-like “Cemetery of Architects.”
Graceland recently became a certified arboretum, and staff there quickly realized there was a demand for a digital tree tour map.
“Graceland attracts a wide array of visitors, especially ones who like to escape city life for a while and admire the horticulture close to home,” said Jensen Allen, assistant manager of Graceland Cemetery. “Plants Map offers a totally new horticultural experience through the integration of technology.”
To begin their profile on Plants Map, Graceland is posting 50 of its most beautiful trees on the website. It has also installed Plants Map interactive tags and signs, a service unique to the network of Plants Map users.
“Visitors come into our cemetery everyday with smartphones and tablets, asking what kind of information they can access about Graceland,” Allen said.
Plants Map tree tags are interactive, unlike traditional tree tags. The tags allow visitors to scan a QR code that provides detailed information about the specific tree they are visiting. Visitors can easily locate the tree, read about the tree’s history, view photographs of the tree in different seasons and phases of growth, and learn more about Graceland Cemetery based on their profile and plant collection on Plants Map.
Graceland plans to expand its use of Plants Map to inventory the entire arboretum collection, post each tree online for virtual visits, provide visitor education, encourage regular involvement, and promote visits.
Graceland Cemetery’s search of tree-tagging companies led them to Plants Map. “Plants Map provided a much more technologically robust solution to the tagging process, as well as a very affordable price,” Allen said.
Plants Map’s other customers include Brigham Young University, Florida Tech Botanical Garden,Daniel Boone Native Gardens, South Arkansas Community College, Heritage Plaza and many private gardens. “We’ve received a very positive response from a diverse number of organizations that Plants Map is a better way to engage with an audience based on botanical interests,” Blevins said.
Individuals can learn about, be inspired by and connect with the community of plant collections. “Many individuals, including those who are not regular social media users, have told us Plants Map is useful, fun and easy to use,” Blevins said. “People enjoy sharing about their plants, learning directly from others, and discovering new public landscapes to visit and organizations to participate with.”
PlantsMap.com is a startup social network, whose primary function is to host plant collections for individuals and organizations. “Each user can document their plant collection based on their own unique stories and experiences,” said Bill Blevins, co-founder and CEO of the company. “Plants Map has been compared to a Pinterest for plants or a Facebook for landscapes.”
The Plants Map basic service is free. Additional premium features and products, such as the interactive tags and collection management tools for specific types of plants are available for purchase.