The Morton Arboretum - Award-Winning Mobile App

Case Study

The Morton Arboretum: iOS App with CMS Integration and GPS

Technology Unleashes the Wonders of Nature

The Morton Arboretum app caught so much attention, it was featured on the WGN-TV Morning News and won a Silver Stevie Award. The app uses GPS to offer guided tours on the 1,700 acre Arboretum site, utilizing web-hosted visuals and data. The app updates itself automatically. Tours on the app offer something for everyone -- families, hikers, birders, tree lovers -- in a variety of lengths. The app authenticates members to offer them the most advanced features.

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Morton Arboretum App Features Rich Offerings Across 1,700-Acre Living Museum

The Morton Arboretum hired Breakthrough Technologies to create a mobile app that would engage visitors more deeply as well as encourage repeat visits. BT designed an app that features a GPS-coordinated map that offers various tours of the Arboretum’s most popular sites of interest, enhancing the visitors’ experience with background information and engaging graphics.

The app also offers instant reports on Arboretum events, exhibits, and classes. A digital membership card replaces a printed pass and links members to exclusive materials. It tallies the tours that users have taken to encourage repeat visits and friendly competition among fellow members.
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The idea is to encourage visitors to experience the Arboretum’s favorite places - to see more, learn more, engage more, and, thanks to gamification technology, even be rewarded for doing so.
Kevin Leonard, BT Solutions Lead

App Pulls Data from Arboretum’s Extensive Drupal 7 Website

Key to BT's development of this app is technology that allows it to be updated through the Morton Arboretum’s open-source Drupal 7 Content Management System, which also powers their website. This innovation allows for easy enhancement of the full range of Arboretum information so it can be changed season by season.

Highlighting various sites along the Arboretum’s 16 miles of hiking trails and its award-winning Children’s Garden, the app offers different tour experiences, from fun, educational spots for families and kids to an excursion designed for birding enthusiasts. Gamification technology allows visitors to unlock achievements by completing tours. All the maps in the app are location aware using GPS, so users know their exact whereabouts within the Arboretum at any time.

BT's innovative approach of using open-source Drupal as the content management system to drive a Drupal mobile app is a relatively new concept - one that gives the Arboretum enormous flexibility in the way that they evolve the app to engage with members and visitors.


BT on WGN Around Town (Chicago)

See the award-winning Morton Arboretum app developed by BT in a demonstration showcasing many of the innovative features including the tours, the location-aware map, and gamification.