Springing into daffodil data collection

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03-20-2024 07:00 PM
Laurel_Hill
New Contributor III
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I love almost everything about these first weeks of spring - days lengthening, birds singing, buds bursting, and those darling & dreaded daffodils that pop up gloriously for a brief bloom period ... just to tease me about how much reidentifying and relabeling work I have to do.

According to collection management system (aka, the plant records database), we have over 352 unique daffodil taxa in our collection. In a perfect world, each of those plantings has a display label, accession number, photo documentation, and an associated geographical location.

However, the world of public garden is far from perfect. The truth is, very few of our daffodils have had the plant records attention they deserve. They hadn't been mapped, inventoried, verified, relabeled, or photographed. I can understand why - it's a lot of work. It's especially a lot of work to get done in the short amount of time before they finish blooming (and the key characteristics revealed in their flowers is lost for another entire year). 

But this year, I have attempted to harness the power of Survey123 and ArcGIS Online to capture as much information as practical during these brief weeks of bloom time. It is my hope that, if my team and I can at least capture the information in the moment, we will be able to continue to work on the verification, labeling, database updates, and interpretation after the blooms fade. 

Long story short, I used Survey123 to configure a very simple field collection app. Here's a preview of the survey:

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Surveys were shared with field collection team by way of QR code that they could scan on their phone.

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After only a few field collection sessions, we have collected over 330 points. We will probably spend another week and a half collecting additional points or revisiting points collected for plants that were not yet in bloom and needed a revisit. Below is a screenshot of the survey data results so far.

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From those survey results, I played around with Map Viewer to create a very simple interactive web map. Note the simple symbology of these points which is designed to communicate the label status and provide information that will inform a prioritized approach to processing points and following up with label work. A screenshot of that view is below. 

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The app configuration and field collection portions of this daffodil inventory project feel like the easy parts. The challenging chores are coming next - cleaning the data, comparing the pictures with reputable references to confirm the cultivar, connecting any identifications back to a database record, fabricating new labels, locating the bulbs again (possibly after they have gone dormant), and installing labels into the garden for guests to enjoy when these plants bloom again next year. 

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