Legacies and New Directions in Mapping

August 1, 2017

Legacies and New Directions in Mapping

From the original Frederick Law Olmsted paper map imagining “Harvard’s Arboretum” to advanced satellite navigation systems that track our landscape on your desktop or mobile device, mapping is fundamental to documenting our 281-acre landscape and plant collections. Historical maps depict the development of the Arboretum and trace landmark expeditions in Asia. A grid map of the Arboretum developed by Leon Croizat has helped identify locations for our plants since the 1930s, and today provides just one layer of a geographic information system used to record multiple aspects of plant curation and care. Researchers and visitors can harness this technology both at home and in our landscape to locate specific plants and learn more about them with our online mapping application, Arboretum Explorer. Mobile GIS technology has also transformed contemporary plant exploration—all wild-collected plants carry geo-referenced location information to aid biodiversity studies and conservation efforts.

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