The latest issue of Arnoldia features a ‘cover article‘ by the MBC Team. The study offers examples of ways in which remote sensing can advance and improve the work of botanic gardens.

The paper details how LIDAR data of ground elevation and canopy height, along with other imagery, were integrated into exisitng GIS (mapping) systems at Montgomery, allowing for detailed assessment and analysis of the grounds and plant collections. The new technology also opens new avenues for garden-based research.

Ericka Witcher, lead author on the study, states: “GIS technology has other uses at botanical gardens beyond keeping track of our stuff through maps. Sharing techniques and practical applications can help all of us make greater use of our resources.”

Quoting from the article:

“The ability to use remote sensing data in conjunction with map files opened up entirely new ways of visualizing the garden property. Tree canopies were accurately identified by species by overlaying the mapped plant points onto the orthophotos. Map files of road edges and lake boundaries from 10 years before were adjusted to align with their current locations. Instead of looking at information imposed on a representation of the property, the information was examined in view of the property as a whole in the real world.”

Arnoldia is the quarterly magazine of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. The Arnold Arboretum is the oldest public arboretum in North America as well as an important center for plant science and botanic garden innovation.