The Lurie Garden now has an incredibly cool interactive map on their website! If this does not thrill you to your very core, then I pity your torpid soul.
I learned about the map from reading a post, The Challenges and Rewards of Mapping the Natural Garden, on the Lurie Garden website. The post was written by Peter Slothower, the Lurie’s Assistant Horticulturalist and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Public Garden Apprentice. Click here to read the post for yourself – it’s fascinating stuff.
One of the great things about this map is that you can see what is blooming at any point during the growing season. You can also watch the garden change before your eyes over whatever period of time you choose.
For example, here’s the north end of the Light Plate in early May.
Click on one of the colored shapes and you’ll get the name of the plant in bloom in that space, along with other information.
Here’s the same part of the garden in mid-June.
This map was developed over the past year using something called a dynamic geographic information system. I have no idea what that is, but I think it involves drones. The idea is to allow the designers to have a more precise idea of how the garden changes over time, and using that more exact information to determine what edits or additions are needed. It also allows the staff to more effectively inventory what is growing throughout the garden.
The map’s controls enable you to examine a smaller area more closely.
Or you can just pinch your screen.
As of now the map does not provide information about foliage. However, it does indicated the bloom times and locations of the Lurie Garden’s many grasses.
The map is marked “Beta”, which I’m told is a sort of warning to expect a bit of awkwardness of use. However, and I say this as a total computer klutz, I found it to be fairly intuitive. The view finder was the only thing I couldn’t figure out, but it’s really not essential.
So if I seem to disappear from view for the next couple of months, just know that I am playing with the Lurie Garden’s interactive map. I’m just a tiny bit worried that I won’t be able to tear myself away in order to work in our actual garden when the spring thaw hits.