Get your plant collection mapped today

IrisBG is a complete botanical collection management solution for botanical gardens, arboreta and large estates. If you ask any botanical garden whether they would like to see their plant collection records integrated with maps, the answer in most cases is, YES PLEASE. One reason why this often is not a high priority, is the perceived high cost of establishing a mapping solution for the garden. In this article, we will show you how you can get started with map integration, and how this approach can provide you with a gradual approach for mapping that you can adapt to the resources you have available.Map

A more detailed description of how you update maps is available in our video screen cast library. In this document we will focus on maps of your own garden. Recording and displaying locations of accession origin is not covered in this article.

How do I get a basemap for my garden?

If you do not have this already, you will either have to get a digitized map prepared for you by a professional surveyor, obtain publicly available digitized maps for your area or, you can consider using the maps that are available through online map resources such as Bing, Yahoo and OpenStreetMap. The latter alternative will in some cases be satisfactory, or can be used as an easy way to get started. With IrisBG, you can start off with this free option, and move over to your own custom maps at a later stage.

You can choose between a large selection of online map providers, in addition to any compatible Map Server that you have access to. If you have maps of your own, they can be hosted on your own Map Server, if available, or you can use the IrisBG Map Server.

Configuring IrisBG map settings

When you have decided on your basemap, you will have to configure IrisBG appropriately by following these steps.

  1. Add custom map providers in the “Definitions.Map providers” screen if applicable.
  2. Configure the “Locations Map Settings” for your plant collection in the “Management.Collections” screen. Important settings are:
    1. Default map type for basemap.
    2. Datum/geodetic system (ETRS89, NAD83, WGS84 etc).
    3. Coordinate format.
    4. Coordinates for centre location in your garden.

If you are unfamiliar or unsure about the correct settings for your situation, get in touch with us or consult a GIS expert. Please note that your default basemap can easily be changed later and that you can always change between different map types when viewing the maps. When you have completed the settings, you are ready to record map coordinates for your garden locations and your accession items.

Recording map coordinates for your garden locations

With IrisBG you divide your garden into sections and sub-sections to a desired level of detail that you find practical. When you have decided on your map strategy, your first step will be to record coordinates for your garden locations.

Do I have to record the coordinates for all my accession items? In IrisBG, this is not necessary. When you produce maps in IrisBG, we will use the location coordinates for your garden locations where plant coordinates have yet to be recorded. The benefit of this approach is that you can produce garden maps early on without having to record the location of each individual accession item.
Garden Locations

To record your map coordinates for your garden locations, open the “Management.Locations” screen, select the relevant location, and click on the map symbol in the y-coordinates column. You can also type in the x and y coordinates directly. When you click on the map symbol, the garden map is displayed, you can drag the location marker to change location coordinates.

Recording map coordinates for accession items

When you have recorded map coordinates for your garden locations, you may want to start recording location coordinates for some of your important accession, such as important trees etc.Edit Map

Recording accession item location is done in the same manner as for garden locations. Open the accession, select the accession item and either enter the coordinates or use the map to drag the marker to the correct location. You can also update the map coordinates for your accessions out in the garden using a mobile device with IrisBG mobile.

Reaping the benefits

Already with only your garden location coordinates recorded, you can produce a range of maps from the Report.Maps feature. In addition, you will be able to see in which part of the garden each accession is located. This information is also available without the need for any further preparations, using a handheld device with IrisBG mobile and on the web, for visitors using IrisBG Garden Explorer.

With maps integrated in your system, you will be able to get even more out of your plant collection.


IrisBG has a flexible approach to map integration. You could have a working solution up and running in a day. Start by using already available basemaps online and recording the map coordinates for your garden locations. At a later stage you can introduce your own digitized maps and gradually record location coordinates for important accessions. You can adapt your approach according to the resources you have available.

More details

IrisBG Map Viewer

IrisBG Screen cast library

IrisBG Garden Explorer

IrisBG Mobile:

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