U.S. National Arboretum Mobile App
Visiting an arboretum can be a peaceful and informative experience, but it can also be a challenging one if the arboretum covers a large area. For example, the U.S. National Arboretum encompasses 446 bucolic acres nestled within Washington, D.C., and its exhibits and collections are connected by 9 miles of paved roadways.
To help visitors navigate the vast acreage, National Arboretum staff created an “app,” a software application for mobile phones and other devices.
The new U.S. National Arboretum app works with iOS and Android phones.
(Peggy Greb, D3790-1)
“The app is an outgrowth of the Arboretum Botanical Explorer, or ABE,” says Agricultural Research Service horticulturist Scott Aker, who heads the Arboretum’s Gardens Unit. “The ABE is available on a kiosk in our Visitor Center and is also on our website. It allows users to see the location of plants, when they were acquired, and where they came from. It also serves as an electronic register of the memorials and dedications—benches, trees, and the like—that commemorate a person or event. ABE was a success and is a great way to provide access to our collections to a much broader audience. But with the improvements in hand-held devices, it became clear that moving ABE to mobile devices would be the next logical development.”
Supported by both the iOS and Android platforms for mobile devices, the app complements the existing signage and other ways of navigating the Arboretum’s many gardens and features.
Tours, exhibits, events, and gardens are programmed into the app to deliver real-time information about what visitors can see and do while at the Arboretum. A digital map helps visitors find their way around, and a search feature allows them to locate collections or exhibits, learn about available visitor services, and find a memorial bench or tree with ease.
In the future, the National Arboretum will add even more information to the app, such as suggested walking tours and content that will appear based on the user’s proximity to certain other Arboretum features.—By Sharon Durham, ARS Office of Communications.