Twenty-First Century Plant Hunters Survey UK National Trust Gardens

Garden teams begin three year project to catalogue plants using Twelve Magellan MobileMapper CX GPS/GIS Handheld Receivers with DigiTerra Explorer 5 Software

Santa Clara, Calif., June 10, 2008 — The UK’s biggest ever plant hunt began this May when gardeners and volunteers at Killerton in Devon kicked off a survey that will cover tens of thousands of plants at more than eighty significant National Trust gardens.

The three year mammoth survey, sponsored by the Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks, will capture details of the wide range of plants growing in National Trust gardens in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Head Gardeners will lead the teams of gardeners and volunteers in carrying out the survey. A photo will be taken of each plant, a GPS grid reference will be recorded using the Magellan MobileMapper CX running DigiTerra Explorer 5 software and each plant will be identified by experts.

Magellan MobileMapper CX
The National Trust purchased twelve MobileMapper CX, GPS GIS data collectors, from Ormston Technology Ltd.  The units were chosen because they offer easy-to-use, sub-meter real-time performance at a cost significantly lower than competitive receivers. Franklyn Tancock, Plant Collections Curator at the National Trust, says, “After evaluating several competing models, we selected the MobileMapper CX because of its value for the money. We were able to purchase the appropriate number of MobileMappers to allow a larger number of properties to be surveyed at one time.  It is also easy unit to use by a wide range of individuals skills that will be involved.” He adds, “It’s a rugged device that has a strong construction, is weatherproof and provides the accuracy required, sub meter or greater with post processing.”

The Survey
Information from all of the survey work carried out in the gardens will be entered into a central database. This will enable experts to identify which plants, trees or heritage vegetables need to be propagated at the new National Trust’s specialist propagation unit at Knightshayes Court in Devon. The propagation of plants will enable the Trust to replenish existing collections, prepare its gardens for the challenges of climate change and make plants available to other properties.

Many of the Trust’s twenty historic working kitchen gardens will also be taking part in the survey. This will provide a much clearer picture of the rare and threatened heritage varieties of vegetables found in these gardens and which of them need to be preserved or propagated for wider distribution.

Mike Calnan, Head of Parks and Gardens at the National Trust, says, "This is the biggest and most comprehensive plant survey ever undertaken in the UK. At the moment we have records for around five per cent of plants in The National Trust 215 gardens and this survey will take that figure to beyond 75 per cent in the next three years. Hundreds of staff and volunteers will help us catalogue the plants found in our gardens, something that we haven’t had the resource to carry out before."

Phase one of the project will see gardens in Devon and Cornwall, Wales and Yorkshire and the North East surveyed. Many of the most famous gardens in the UK, from Sissinghurst in Kent to Stourhead in Wiltshire, will be taking part in the plant hunt.

Mike Calnan, continues, "For the first time, we will be able to map out the thousands of rare species of plant in the care of the National Trust which have been bred by passionate plant collectors or gathered by plant hunters on expeditions during the last 400 years or so. We might even ‘discover’ plants that we didn’t know we had."

DigiTerra Explorer 5 Software
The National Trust selected DigiTerra software to run on the open platform MobileMapper CX. Mr. Tancock says, “DigiTerra Explorer is easy to understand, straightforward, and details of captured information are easily written onto pre constructed forms. Each layer can have a different symbol, which makes for easy identification on any map.  Points can be labelled to enable easy identification, and full information of each plant can be effortlessly displayed.”

About The National Trust
The National Trust is a United Kingdom charity completely independent of Government. It protects and opens to the public over 215 historic houses and gardens and 49 industrial monuments and mills. It also looks after forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, downs, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, castles, nature reserves, villages – for ever, for everyone. It has 3.5 million members and 50,000volunteers, and an estimated 50 million visits are made annually to its open air properties.  The surveys could not happen without the generous sponsorship from Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks. Their sponsorship supports conservation, environmental and engagement activities in the National Trust gardens and plays an integral part of the Bank’s commitment to protecting the environment, including an ongoing drive to reduce its carbon footprint.

About Digiterra
Headquartered in Budapest (Hungary), DigiTerra Information Services Ltd. Is a privately-owned software development company, with a special focus on geo-information and innovative GIS applications for agriculture and forestry.  DigiTerra Explorer, the company’s best-selling mobile field mapping and data collection application, is a market leader in agro-geoinformation.  It is used by thousands of government and private customers worldwide, including major development projects like the Hungarian National Land Parcel Identification System and industry specific solutions such as a comprehensive enterprise resource planning (ERP) application for forestry companies. DigiTerra is a registered trademark of DigiTerra Information Services Ltd.

About Magellan
Magellan is a leader in the consumer, survey, GIS and OEM GNSS navigation and positioning markets. Recognized as an industry innovator, the Company is the creator of ProMark™, the best-selling single frequency GPS survey product line on the market, the award-winning Magellan® RoadMate™ series portable car navigation systems, and the Hertz® NeverLost® car navigation system. The Company markets it survey and GIS solutions worldwide under its Magellan Professional brand. It is privately held and headquartered in Santa Clara, California with European headquarters in Carquefou, France.

About Ormston Technology
From its head office in Beverly, East Yorkshire, Ormston Technology Ltd. is one  of the UK’s leading providers of high precision positioning and navigation equipment. In recent years the Company has specialized in the provision of professional GPS survey, GIS and navigation solutions to land, marine and offshore sectors.