The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center (HANC) embarked on a master planning process in response to two natural weather disasters in the region – a 2008 hurricane and a 2011 drought.
These events signaled a need to restore the acreage to resilient and sustainable native ecosystems. The demand for education resources had also outgrown HANC's existing facilities. Large swaths of prairie and savanna habitat, new facilities and an expansion of access are part of the masterplan project.
Magian worked with the exhibit designers, the client, architects and other consultants to confirm and document the multimedia for the exhibition design. We designed the technical infrastructure for both the exhibition and the education facilities which are central to the Arboretum's stated desire to improve facilities for students and visitors. Working with the established graphics package Magian developed graphical user interfaces for the various screen based multimedia programs.
As part of the design development phase Magian documented and designed a smartphone app to support visitors as they follow the extensive nature trails around the site. The smartphone app provides visitors with GPS capability linked to a site map, information about the site's facilities, conservation information, tips on what to look for as they walk the trails, and extensive species identification content.
Visitors are encouraged to report their sightings of flora and fauna around the site. These reports will be sent to the multimedia kiosks in the entry exhibits. The site's trails are to be extended under the new Masterplan. Two educational wetlands (that double as storm water retention) will interface with the smartphone content to communicate and extend their messages. From savanna to wetlands – authentic soundscapes in the exhibitions will further immerse visitors in the rich habitats of the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center site.
Houston Arboretum & Nature Center