arbMap started out as a project for tracking tributes benches at the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum.

Known problems.

Rather than remaining limited to that single task, it evolved into a generalized online interactive map of the Arboretum. It currently only displays tributes but can be expanded to a variety of points-of-interest, paths, garden maps with descriptions, etc, A beta version is online. Comments are encouraged but before you visit the site, image006.pngplease note some caveats:

  • this is definitely a draft, a proposal, a work-in-progress;  it's not intended to be shared with a broad audience
  • it's under heavy development and is likely to change at any time
  • the address (URL) will probably change or even disappear (let me know if you can't open the app.)
  • it currently does not reside on the Arboretum's website; it's possible that it may never live there.
  • I welcome feedback/bug reports/suggestions.
  • More in the "known problems" section

Features include

  • ability to change base maps (the current choices are "street", plain labeled/unlabeled and satellite). All maps are open source and have pan and zoom.
  • ability to show/hide features (in the demo, there are 2 kinds of features: monuments and benches)
  • popup with information on the located feature (i.e. tribute), including popup photos (single images for now, mulit-image display to come; current photos are unedited samples.)
  • a "fuzzy" search tool that will bring up a clickable list of matching features (e.g., search for tribute's name)
  • mobile-friendly; displays well on most mobile devices as well as desktops.
  • display a user's current location (on mobile devices)

Possible future enhancements. I hope to implement (these may or may not be feasible.)

  • user editable data source. E.g. a shared Google sheet could be used to edit/update information regarding map featues
  • custom base map. I'd like to use one of the excellent Arboretum maps in place of the existing open source maps.
  • improved photo handling (currently only one photo at a time)
  • off-line usage (use a local map with no internet connection)

Potential uses other than as a "tribute tracker" (some of these are rather "blue sky" at the moment)

  • interactive Arboretum "points of interest" map--overly World Tour path, Hummingbird Tour path, outlines of the various gardens with descriptions as popups
  • show location and content of major signage -- popups showing the sign in a readable format
  • show "what's blooming" -- popups show image and text
  • "you are here" (mobile devices) -- if your phone has a GPS, show your location in the gardens in relation to points of interest (this was partially implement, 4/1/16.)
  • tracking plantings in the Upper Arboretum
  • visualizing data from the Arboretum database (PIRS)


  • Searching: click/tap on the magnifying glass. Some misspellings are accommodated. Click on an item in the results list to visit a feature
  • Changing the display: the control is at the bottom right (it's collapsed on mobile and looks like a loose stack of paper.)
  • image003.pngViewing feature (tribute) information: click on an icon (on desktops, a summary is visible when the mouse is over an icon.) Clicking the "photo" link in a popup brings up an image. Note: this is a preliminary version. The photos are unedited. Eventually the single image display will be replaced with multi-image slide show display.
  • Zooming and panning works the same as in Google Maps. There's a zoom control in the upper left, the mouse wheel also zooms. Dragging pans the map.

Try it out:

(click on the map)


Known problems:

  • Search not functioning on mobile device (Windows 8.1 phone)
  • On-screen keyboard mis-behaving (Android)
  • Blue-colored artifact on some controls (Android)