Blue Raster Takes to the Skies at Holden Forests & Gardens

On a beautiful April morning in Northeast Ohio, Blue Raster made final preparations for a drone basemap capture. Located in Kirtland, about 30 minutes East of Downtown Cleveland, is the sprawling 3,600-acre Holden Arboretum, one of the largest public gardens in the county. With over 20,000 annual member households and an annual attendance of over 350,000 visitors, people flock to see the beauty of the different landscapes in search of inspiration, education, and peace.

On this day, Blue Raster was tasked to capture approximately 300 acres of the curated collections and gardens (the rest being mostly natural lands) with a drone to create a high-resolution basemap for use by staff and in a future public application. After a brisk morning drive in the golf cart to review the locations of the preset ground control points, the drone was ready to fly.

Blue Raster’s Associate Project Manager and Drone Pilot, Ben Masters, explained to the Holden Team along for the ride how the drone would capture the images, the planned flight paths, altitude, and speed, and provided a safety moment. In four separate planned missions, over 1,400 images were captured in a matter of hours. Then it was off to the Cleveland Botanical Garden, the second institution in the Holden Forests & Gardens family, to capture the approximately 10 acres located in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood.

Combined, the five drone missions and over 1,700 images captured were processed for the two sites using Esri’s ArcGIS Drone2Map software. The high-resolution and current imagery allows for accurate GIS and mapping workflows. Over the next few weeks, Blue Raster will prepare the basemap for use in Holden’s ArcGIS Enterprise environment. Everything from workflows in ArcGIS Field Maps to the future public application will utilize this basemap. Holden Forests and Gardens has nearly 20,000 individual living plant records in their botanical repository, BG-BASE, which will be synced with GIS for real-time display of location, condition, measurements, and more in GIS.

Want to learn more about Blue Raster’s drone and Public Gardens capabilities and experience? We've supported over a dozen Public Gardens since 2010. Check out our website and reach out!

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