Arboretum Launches an Interactive Website Map


If visitors have ever wished there was a place on the Arboretum website where they could view a detailed and comprehensive map of the Arboretum—and from this map, they could measure the distance of their favorite hiking or running loop, zoom in on aerial photos or access a comprehensive inventory of the plants in Longenecker Gardens, they will find that and much more when the Arboretum’s new interactive map (I-MAP) launches on Monday, November 1.

Created in collaboration with the UW Cartography Lab and Axis Maps LLC, the Arboretum I-MAP offers users a whole new way to connect with the Arboretum. From acquiring general visitor orientation, to exploring detailed information about restoration and research activities, volunteer opportunities, and the Arboretum’s unique history, the I-MAP provides exciting content for every level of user.

There is even an opportunity for the public to add their own photographs and experiences to the map for others to share.

The I-MAP opens with the option for users to view a short video tutorial. This two-minute video orients novice users to the various controls and options available on the map, such as zooming, panning, measuring and turning layers on and off. Experienced users, or those familiar with using such maps, can skip this step and be taken right to the I-MAP.

Upon entering the I-MAP, they will see that it is organized into three different tabs (Go, Learn, and Your Turn) depending on the type of experience a user is looking to have. Clicking on these different tabs will open up content specific to that use, in the form of map “layers” that can be zoomed in, turned on and off, or layered on top of one-another.

The “Go” tab is for those users that are seeking basic information about the Arboretum and what you can do here. This tab includes information on the Visitor Center, walking/running/skiing trails, biking to the Arboretum, volunteering opportunities, etc. Also available is detailed information about Longenecker Gardens, including the opportunity to download a current and complete garden inventory.

The “Learn” tab is for the user who wants to dig deeper into the Arboretum to discover more information about what makes it unique and special. Information about featured restorations, Arboretum history, its setting within the watershed, ecological conditions, biodiversity and the challenges it faces protecting/restoring it, and an overview of some of the wildlife that can be seen within the Arboretum can be accessed from this tab.

The “Your Turn” tab is where users can submit their own photographs or observations, or discover more information about how to become a part of the Arboretum community. Photos can be shared through the popular photo sharing website Flickr. Photos uploaded to a person’s Flickr account can be tagged with a special Arboretum code. Participants can then geotag the location of their photo as accurately as possible, and the photos will appear on the map automatically. Observations can be submitted in a similar fashion through Google Maps.

From a technical standpoint, the UW Arboretum I-MAP is unique in two ways:
First, the ability for Arboretum staff to control the content, updating the site with new and current information without re-doing the map interface, is unique among interactive maps. The map “layers” are all linked to the Arboretum’s spatial Geographic Information System (GIS) database.

Secondly, the ability for users to submit their own information, such as photographs and experiences, sets this map apart from others of its kind.
These unique features will keep the site current, dynamic and exciting, and will keep users returning to the site, forming a vital community of users.

Below is a partial list of layers that will be available for interaction on the map. Many more layers are available, and more will be added over time.
• Trails
• History points
• Area bus stops
• Benches
• Restrooms
• Buildings
• Paved roads
• Bike racks
• Springs
• Effigy mounds
• Biodiversity
• Invasive species
• Soils
• Wetlands
• Ecological Communities
• Featured restorations
• Aerial photos (2007, 1962, 1937)
• Original 1835 land survey map
• Watershed boundaries
• Stormwater flow routes
• Volunteer locations
• Topographic lines
• Native Plant Garden areas
• Longenecker collections
• Area bike trails

Questions about the new map? Contact Jennifer Skolaski at 608.890.2555 or

Located between Lake Wingra and the West Beltline Highway at 1207 Seminole Highway, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum features the restored prairies, forests and wetlands of pre-settlement Wisconsin. This 1,260-acre arboretum also houses flowering trees, shrubs and a world-famous lilac collection. Educational tours for groups and the general public, science and nature-based classes for all ages and abilities, and a wide variety of volunteer opportunities for groups, families and individuals are available.