Use maps to record the location and origin of your plants


The Mapping module provides you with the functionality needed to display maps and visually update geographic map coordinates in your botanical collection. The maps can be used to show and update the location of plants (accession items), the localities where the plant material originates, areas in the garden or garden assets (features).

IrisBG includes mapping capabilities that are relevant for botanic gardens without the complexities you often find in full fledged Geographic Information Systems.

Maps logo

User experience

Here are some of the key aspects of the Mapping module user experience.
  • Open a map from the Accession screen and display the
    • location of the plant (accession item).
    • location of the bed (garden location).
    • locality of the accession origin (where the material was collected in the wild).
  • Change the recorded location coordinates for an accession item, a garden location or the locality of origin, by visually dragging the map marker directly in the map to the desired position.
  • Display maps of your garden tours, garden maintenance plans (tasks) and tree inspections.
  • When updating map coordinates of an accession item, map markers of plants recorded in the same bed are also displayed on the map.
  • Display different maps with your own selection criteria in a similar manner to the standard reports.
  • Choose between your own base maps and a wide range of internet map service providers, including Bing, OpenStreetmap, etc.
  • Map marker labels which provides details about the underlying record can be displayed individually or for all records, in a short or long text.
  • By clicking on the map marker, the underlying record (accession item, locality, etc) can be viewed and updated.
  • In addition to zooming and panning, you can also print, save and copy the map image.
  • A map can be exported as a KML file and be shared with others using tools such as Google Earth, Quantum GIS and ArcGIS
  • Select between different marker types.

No need to record the exact coordinates of all your plants

For plants without map coordinates, the coordinates of the garden location (bed) are used instead when displaying maps. This makes IrisBG different from many other mapping solutions, as it is possible to produce maps of your entire plant collection without having to record the coordinates of every single plant.

Technical features

Here are some of the key technical features of the Mapping module.
  • IrisBG is delivered with more than 30 base maps from different internet map providers ready for use.
  • With the supplied base maps you can switch between display styles, including traditional map display, terrain, satellite, hybrid etc.
  • A range of coordinate formats and geodectic datums are supported.
  • Using your own base maps:
    • Your own base maps are accessed via a Web Map Service (WMS) tile server.
    • You can define an unlimited number of WMS map providers, in addition to the predefined map providers.
    • If you do not have your own WMS service, the “IrisBG WMS Map hosting service” can be used. The “IrisBG WMS Map Hosting Service” supports vector based maps such as Esri Shapefiles and PostGIS databases, as well as georeferenced raster files such as GeoTIFF. Other file formats, such as AutoCAD and Vectorworks are supported by converting the map data to the Shapefile format or a supported raster file format.
    • If you are considering hosting your own WMS Service, you can use products such as GeoServer and some of the Esri ArcGIS server products. Please note that the WMS service has to be accessible on the internet if you are planning to use your own maps with your Garden Explorer website.

Mapping on a handheld device

With the Mapping module, you will also be able to use your maps on a handheld device with IrisBG Mobile.

ArcGIS IrisBG Sync

The integrated mapping capabilities found in IrisBG is in many cases sufficient when working with your botanical collection. However, if you are looking for advanced geoprocessing power, you would need to consider a more advanced tool, such as ArcGIS. In addition, many institutions with botanical collections spend considerable resources on managing their facilities. In this context, their botanical collection can play an important role when managing the infrastructure in the garden. ArcGIS is used by many as a Facility Management Tool and is great for keeping track of important infrastructure such as electricity pylons, cabling, sewage, water irrigation, building works, etc. Having the capabilities to see this information together with up-to-date plant collection data can be very useful.

Geographic data can be exported from IrisBG in various formats which can be loaded in GIS tools such as ArcGIS. This includes KML, CSV, XSLX, etc. However, the ArcGIS IrisBG Sync will give users a much more efficient workflow.

The Alliance of Public Garden GIS (APPG), led by UC Davis Arboretum and partly funded by IMLS grants, has established a Public Garden Data Model to make it easier for botanic gardens to adopt the ArcGIS platform. The IrisBG Sync will load plant collection data from IrisBG into ArcGIS in line with the APPG data model. A video presenting the IrisBG ArcGIS sync was posted on the IrisBG blog in June.


The Mapping module requires a connection to the internet.

Webinar playback

Watch our webinar, Mapping made easy - how to get your plant collection mapped with IrisBG.

Mapping made easy

Video tutorial

Using maps in IrisBG - click to view our video tutorial showing you how to use the IrisBG Mapping.

Preparing maps for WMS hosting

To use our Map Hosting Service for ArcGIS compatible maps, please prepare the maps as follows:

  • Make sure the map and all map layers use the "web mercator auxiliary sphere / EPSG:3857" projection.
  • Make sure the map extent is properly defined.
  • Run the command, "Analyze map" from the ArcGIS file menu and fix any warnings or errors.
  • For optimal visual appearance, we recommend that you follow these guidelines.
    • Avoid using a black outline colour on polygons. Try instead to use an outline colour with a more subtle contrast, such as Dark Blue Outline for Blue polygons and Dark Green outline for Green polygons.
    • Avoid transparency.
    • 3D symbols are not supported on WMS.
    • Use low contrasting colours.
    • Remove unused layers.
    • Data Frame
      • Remove rotation and reference scale, if used.
      • If you have gaps between polygons, consider using a black background.
  • To send us the map, select "Share as/Map Package" from the file menu.
  • Send the file directly to us via a file sharing service, such as

If you have other types of maps available, please get in touch, and we will be able to advice you on how to proceed.

Further details

Last Updated 02 Aug 2018
Botanical Software Ltd © 2019   |   Privacy Policy