In 2016, the NPS Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation received funding from the NPS National Center for Preservation Technology and Training to evaluate the capabilities of leading plant record management databases. The project team worked with employees across cultural resources, natural resources, and maintenance disciplines at four national historic sites, John Muir, Hampton, Frederick Law Olmsted, and Longfellow House Washington’s Headquarters. The project team selected the ArcGIS Public Garden Data Model, BG-BASE
, BRAHMS, and IrisBG as the leading software applications to evaluate, along with FMSS. A needs assessment, conducted with staff at partner parks, identified key criteria for evaluation. The project team used sample data from partner parks in trial versions of each database to assess their capabilities in data management, maintenance, interpretation, and research, as well as their ease of use and associated costs. This research, combined with insights from software developers, scholars, and key users of plant records management databases at allied institutions, offered insights into the applicability and value of plant records management software to national parks.
Plant maintenance tracked using the ArcGIS Public Garden data model includes tasks, tree benefits, and tree hazard health, as shown in this example from Longfellow House Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site (Alliance for Public Gardens GIS).