GIS Tech News (#121)

19 Mar, 2013 By: Cadalyst Staff

Arboretum Gains New Insight by Digitizing 50 Years' Worth of Maps

Contex wide-format scanner helps the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University georeference its collection of 1,800 landscape maps.

By Steve Blanken

The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University may be the oldest public arboretum in North America, but that doesn't mean it's stuck in the past. To the contrary, staffers rely on modern technology to support the Arboretum's education and research activities: They use social media outlets and mobile device alerts to inform the public about "tree mobs" — an educational take on flash mobs — and they recently scanned and archived a 50-year collection of nearly 1,800 maps using a Contex HD 4230 wide-format scanner.

The Arboretum's collection of trees, shrubs, and woody vines fills 265 acres and is recognized as one of the most comprehensive and best documented of its kind. The scanning project comprised maps dating from 1937 to 1988, including documents with damage such as tears. For those more delicate items, staffers used a mylar folder to process the scan. "Some of the documents are fragile, and the [Contex] scanner did a great job," said Jonathan Damery, curatorial assistant of the Arnold Arboretum.

Maps in the Arnold Arboretum's collection depict the locations of various plant species, as well as ponds, paths, benches, and other features.
Maps in the Arnold Arboretum's collection depict the locations of various plant species, as well as ponds, paths, benches, and other features.

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Steve Blanken is the general manager of Contex Americas.

Mark Your Calendar: GIS Events

Introducing OpenRoads Technology
March 27, 2013
1 p.m. ET
This e-seminar by Bentley will demonstrate how OpenRoads software expands civil engineering design boundaries. Read more

GEO South
May 1–2, 2013
London, United Kingdom
The GEO events are designed for everyone involved in the capture and application of geospatial information for construction, civil engineering, development, local and national government agencies, professional survey practices, and consultancies. Read more

IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium
July 21–26, 2013
Melbourne, Australia
With the theme "Building a Sustainable Earth through Remote Sensing," this year's event will emphasize the issues that most affect the Earth's environment. Read more

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About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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