Start Your Project

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Once you are ready to start a project:

1. Download the Data Model

The Alliance for Public Gardens GIS team worked with an international team of living collection managers and GIS experts to create the ArcGIS Public Garden Data Model, a free and open-source template designed for Esri's ArcGIS software. This data model defines feature classes, attributes, and relationships for many different types of garden features including plants, structures, water features, soil types, and more. We recommend that public gardens use this data model as a starting point for their GIS projects, and then customize it as necessary. This approach saves money and provides the added benefit of a support network of over 200 institutions worldwide that are using the model. ArcGIS Public Garden Data Model

2. Recruit Staff

Many public gardens rely on volunteers and interns in every area of operations and several gardens use them to help maintain their GIS. With some luck you will be able to recruit student interns who already have some experience with GIS. Our program provides a detailed training curriculum for the creation of a GIS community volunteer program that includes recruitment materials, training presentations and materials lists. We also offer information about finding GIS professional volunteers who will help with specific projects at your garden. Staffing Programs

3. Get Training

Whether you hire new staff or build your team with existing staff members, each participant needs to be working towards your collective goal. Adequate training properly equips people with the skills they need to make projects succeed. Your organization might have all the software and hardware necessary but it is useless without the proper staff to set it up and maintain it. Investing in your staff will in turn make them more invested, help to create a sense of loyalty, and improve work quality. Training

4. Share Your Work

One of the most important capabilities of GIS is the ability to publish and disseminate large amounts of geographic information to large numbers of people. The medium for sharing information can take many forms and the particular choice is tightly coupled with the demands and technical capabilities of the intended audience. Collection Researcher is a free and open source web map application template that works seamlessly with the ArcGIS Public Garden Data Model to provide staff, visitors, and researchers access to your living collection maps through an easy to use web browser experience. It allows your audience to explore, search, annotate, and save custom maps without the need to learn complicated software.