In 2012, the U.S. National Arboretum (USNA) launched its Arboretum Botanical Explorer (ABE), giving both first-time visitors and advanced researchers a unique opportunity to explore its massive collections from anywhere in the world. This explorer replaced the Arboretum’s legacy system with a web-mapping application powered by ArcGIS, allowing users to search the collections and get information on specific plant records.
Part of the ABE redesign increased emphasis on the Arboretum’s photo collections. Visitors to the site are now greeted with a photo gallery. Selecting a photo will zoom the map to the plant location and show a wealth of information about the origin.
Expanding the available search options was another goal of the ABE redesign. In addition to the photo gallery, users of the application have more advanced choices in how to explore the collections. Experienced researchers and enthusiasts alike may use the new Structured Search to query the database by collector name, garden/bed location, and even life cycle traits. Searching on multiple attributes of a plant or species helps users narrow down the large collection. For users just looking to explore, updated map symbology and the Browse Plants Search help to quickly find the results of all records in a species.
And of course, once visitors are onsite they can download the USNA Mobile App from the app stores and explore the specimens, active exhibits, and tours with ease.
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