Share your plant collection with the public


Garden Explorer™ is a web-based search and presentation solution for living plant collections. This module can be accessed by the public using a web browser on a PC, tablet computer or Smartphone. It can also be used as a kiosk-solution in the garden. IrisBG Garden Explorer has been tested on the most widely used web browsers and does not rely on additional installation of browser plugins.

Collection Explorer™ is a version of Garden Explorer adapted for preserved collections. Read more about Collection Explorer for preserved collections below.

Try Garden Explorer
IrisBG Garden Explorer logo

Key features

By using a PC, Tablet or Smartphone, the visitor can:

  • Search for Plants.
  • Explore the plant collection using the Garden Map.
  • Search for Garden Features (statues, ponds, memorial benches, etc.).
  • Display Garden Tours, including a map of a selected tour.
  • Explore the plant collection by species names.

Key design goals

IrisBG Garden Explorer has been designed with 3 key aspects in mind:

  • Usability - A person without a GIS or Computer background is able to use the Garden Explorer without difficulties.
  • Performance - The module is designed to perform well, even under low bandwidth conditions.
  • Flexibility - IrisBG Garden Explorer will adapt to the size and capabilities of the visitors web browser including scaling of size, touch screen support, GPS integration and selection of preferred language.

User experience

Here are some of the key aspects of the Garden Explorer user experience.
  • You can enhance the visitor experience by using QR Coded plant labels. The visitor can scan the QR code with a smartphone and Garden Explorer will show details about the taxon and other relevant information. For more details about IrisBG QR code integration, we recommend you read the article on our blog, Getting started with QR Codes in your garden.
  • Support for GPS enabled smartphones. Visitors with a GPS enabled smartphone such as iPhone or Android can pinpoint their location on the map, making it easier to find their way around in the garden.
  • Multiple search criteria are supported such as the scientific or common names of plant, plant family, genus, location in the garden and country of origin.
  • For each taxon, information such as family, synonyms, common names, distribution, red-list status and hardiness is given.
  • The locations of plants for a given taxon are shown both on a map and in a list.
  • For each location, both pictures and a description of the area can be viewed.
  • All garden features are displayed on the garden map and users can search for features by name and/or by type.
  • When a "Garden Tour" is displayed, each point in the tour is described with text and photo and also shown on the garden map.
  • The user interface language will adapt to the browser language of the user, or can be changed manually by the user. Currently we support English (default), French, Dutch, German, Hebrew, Afrikaans and Norwegian. New languages will be added upon request.
  • With Multilingual Data Entry installed, data can also be displayed in the language of the visitor.
  • IrisBG Garden Explorer also have full support for right-to-left languages such as Arabic and Hebrew. The screen design and fields will be adjusted to the right-to-left reader. The product also incorporates support for adaptive layout to accommodate full reversal of all visual elements for right-to-left reading.

Social media integration

Garden Explorer is delivered with social media buttons for visitors to share their experience with friends. Each taxa has a unique and stable web address (URL) which ensures that shared links are available for as long as any plant of that species is available in the garden.

Garden Explorer is also a very powerful tool for boosting engagement with your visitors. Below is a cutting from a Facebook comment made by a visitor after having tried Garden Explorer.

Collection Explorer (for Preserved Collections)

Collection Explorer™ is a version of Garden Explorer adapted for preserved collections.

Below, we have listed some of the main features found in Collection Explorer.

  • The solution is designed for a target audience of scientists and researchers. This is reflected in the available search options and the type of information that is presented to the user.
  • The map displays the location where the preserved material was collected.
  • More details about individual accessions are available, including type of material, material preparation, etc.
  • Users can search for and download individual accession records.
  • A Collection Overview page gives users a breakdown of the collection, divided by material type, region and taxonomic order.

Try Collection Explorer:

Publish your plant collection online (Video)

Publish your plant collection online

Automatic Upload to Garden Explorer

Upload to Garden Explorer can now be executed at regular intervals using the free IrisBG Batch Jobs software, with the included convenience of support for email notification.

For more details, visit the IrisBG Batch Jobs page.

Technical features

Here are some of the key technical features of the Garden Explorer module.
  • The solution is fully integrated with IrisBG for easy data management. Uploading data to the Garden Explorer is done by the click of a button.
  • The Garden Explorer is designed to work well on desktop browser, tablets as well as on modern smartphones such as iPhone, Android and Windows Phone.
  • The Garden Explorer content is designed to be indexed by internet search engines. This will enable visitors to find the plants in your collection using search engines such as Google and Bing. Website traffic statistics for the Botanical Garden of Oslo in October/November 2011, show us that 57% of all visits are generated through an external search engine.
  • As part of our delivery, we will also provide you with a dedicated Google Analytics data view, enabling you to analyze the data traffic of your Garden Explorer website.
  • The appearance of the user interface can easily be configured to appear as an integral part of your own website.
  • For each installation of Garden Explorer, the customer can hide fields that are not relevant for their collection. This includes fields used for search or for displaying details.
  • For improved security and performance, the data uploaded to the Garden Explorer is hosted on a dedicated database. You are not required to open up access to your production database from the internet.
  • A wide range of map types are supported by IrisBG Garden Explorer. These include:
    • Your own maps (hosted on a WMS server).
    • Maps supplied by internet map providers such as Bing, Google and OpenStreetMap.
    • Georeferenced illustrations and drawings.
  • Each taxon is given a unique web address (URL) which makes it easy to share or link to your collection data.
  • The website is designed with accessibility in mind and conform to level AA according to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

Architecture and requirements

The Garden Explorer module is built with Microsoft ASP.NET 2.0 and Ajax and runs on Microsoft Internet Information Services.

Further details

Last Updated 12 Oct 2018
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