UH Mānoa Campus
Landscape Mapping

s t r a u c h  at  h a w a i i . e d u

Hanalei Paris
the Campus Plant Map  

My current bread-and-butter work (and jam too) is inventorying and mapping the campus plants for UH Mānoa Buildings and Grounds Management (BGM) Landscape Services, and maintaining and developing a plant map and related campus landscape maps. This has been a great place to combine a number of interests, and work on the particular challenges of mapping plants.

The project to inventory and map the campus plant collection was initiated in 2011 by BGM Director Roxanne Adams, who hired a couple of students and turned them loose on it. Austin Stankus and Nate Ortiz put together a pretty amazing system for mapping the plants, building on work done by Mashuri Waite, and before him Gerry Carr, which they extended to map other features for the landscaping department (e.g. recycling and staging), collected at the UH Map Portal.

Since joining the project in January 2014 (after Austin graduated), I've expanded the coverage of the plant map, revised content and map design, started a blog, and separated the data into a series of tables that reduces redundancy and facilitates linking to other sources of information, currently including about 20 other academic databases and websites which can be accessed through the plant map. Due to the constraints of our mapping protocols, which use a GoogleMap base, this is not quite a relational system yet, nor entirely open-source, but we're looking into the feasability of moving it in that direction.

 
the Plant Map Library  

As our plant map develops into a system that can organize and give access to increasing depths of information, it has the potential to become one entry way into a full digital library of material on the campus plants. This could provide a framework for incorporating more types of information, including digital photo collections, archival documents, and oral histories collected from people who have watched the campus plant collection change over the years. To develop this aspect of the project, in fall 2014 I'm taking a library & information science class (LIS 647) focused on systems analysis for digital libraries, and working with a group in the class on developing a framework for a campus plants library.

 
the Cultural Landscape  

In Spring 2014 I added a map for the Cultural Landscape, which provides an extended online version of the Campus Art Brochure as well as mapping galleries, libraries, gardens, free stores and more. The current map has a few examples of the detailed information that could be provide for the buildings, such as architectural history (see Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies), departmental use (see Saunders Hall) and imagery (see Korean Studies Pavilion), but it will take time to assemble the information for all of the buildings. The map may be further expanded to incorporate some of the stand-alone maps, such as food services and bike racks, as well as new features such as seating areas, which Kelly Kunikane, who took over Nate Ortiz' job when he graduated (working on the BGM and Landscaping websites as well as the maps), has begun inventorying.

Extending the Project  

There are several additional directions this project has branched into. In 2014 I set up maps for a couple of campus events (Earth Day and the Kava Festival), and although these were fairly simple (we didn't get much detailed information from the vendors), they were useful and show the potential for another area that could be further developed.

Since information about the plants is now separated between individuals and species levels, our framework could be used by other campuses in the UH system (or elsewhere) that could load individual plant data and draw on the same set of species information. In 2015 we started talking with the folks at Lyon Arboretum about setting up a mapping system there, which I would love to do, having greatly enjoyed the work done as a collective independent-study tree mapping project I helped facilitate in 2009-2010.

The whole project has provided interesting insights into the cultural biogeography of plants in Hawai‘i, and the potential of interactive maps, some of which I've been able to explore in conference presentations and posters, which are archived on the BGM site.


Bunchy Top
                at Ricky's