Hortis × Species360: Questions and Answers

Waheed Arshad, PhD
February 9, 2023

Earlier this year, the Hortis team joined Species360 to broaden their product portfolio to include botanical record-keeping.

On February 1st, we hosted two webinars to share more information about what this means for the zoological and botanical communities and its collective impact on species conservation. Over 350 registrants from 27 countries joined us to learn about this coming-together and our plans for the future.

Thank you to everyone who attended our sessions and for all the questions you posted during the webinar. It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm and engagement from the community, and we look forward to continuing the discussions together.

For those of you who missed it or would like to watch the recording again, you can do so below:

As we were unable to respond to all the questions during the session, we have compiled a list of those we received along with our answers, to help you better understand Hortis, its features, and how we might help you.

We look forward to the bright future for plant records.


Can I transfer my data from spreadsheets, databases, or other systems?

Yes, we help transfer your data to ensure a seamless onboarding experience. There may be a cost for data transfer, dependent on the size and complexity of your dataset. If you would like to discuss your transfer requirements, feel free to get in touch.


Is Hortis included in my Species360 membership fee? What is the additional cost to use Hortis?

A Hortis subscription is not included in Species360 membership, but can be purchased separately. The pricing on our website would also apply to Species360 members. However, to facilitate record-keeping across all botanical institutions around the world, we offer pricing adapted to local economies. If you would like to discuss this in more detail, feel free to get in touch.

Are the licences per user, or per institution?

The pricing on our website is on a full-time user basis. However, we also offer flexible day bundles (in 90-day packages) which can be used by occasional contributors to your dataset such as volunteers or part-time staff.


Are GPS coordinates automatically determined when adding plant materials to the map?

Yes. Our integrated mapping allows coordinates to be automatically added/updated when mapping plant materials using the base map. If you use an external high accuracy GPS and GNSS receiver, this can either connect the receiver to your smartphone via bluetooth or the coordinates can be inputted into Hortis. Our underlying database has built in support for geographic information, opening up many opportunities for integration with other systems that use spatial data.

Will Hortis work with ArcGIS Field Maps or with other custom map options?

We will open up for the use of your own base maps in Hortis in late 2023. This includes ArcGIS maps. However, the mapping of individual plants is for now done in Hortis, which can easily be exported and loaded into ArcGIS. With a cloud-based product, we will continue to explore integration opportunities based on the options ArcGIS and other platforms offer.

How do the maps integrate with websites for public use/access?

This is not available as of today, although our plan is to have a first version of a public interface for Hortis gardens by the end of the year.

Functionality in Hortis

Does Hortis only record live specimens, or can it also hold records for seed banks and other types of plant materials?

Hortis currently supports the recording of living plant material, but we will add basic support for the recording of non-living material and germplasm gradually, based on the feedback we receive from our community.  

Does Hortis include capabilities for the management of aquatic plants/algae/macro-algae? What about data on survival, growth and fecundity?

Hortis allows you to manage all types of living plants, including aquatics. These can be accessioned and mapped in a similar manner to terrestrial plant materials. We currently allow the recording of plant health observations, but a more formalised capture of survival, growth, and propagation success data is on our roadmap.

What are the customizable options in Hortis?

There is a great variety in how botanical institutions operate and we want to support a broad range of uses, which is only achievable with a flexible platform. We have some capabilities in place today, such as tagging, but more flexibility will be made available as we expand Hortis. It is often easier to discuss these types of requirements by looking at your workflows and existing data. 

Does Hortis record a history of species determinations?

Hortis includes a comprehensive technical audit trail; the database retains a full history of all the changes that are being made to your plant collection data, thereby improving data security and allowing users to understand with more ease what changes have been made, when and by whom – and potentially revert or correct mistakes in a robust and traceable manner. This includes species determinations.

ZIMS-Hortis integration

Will there be an integration of the two products, such that they will communicate/share data with each other?

There is value in the cross-over between plant and animal management, and we will have many opportunities to explore this together, including potential integrations between Hortis and ZIMS (especially for Species360 members who also house botanical collections). We will explore these options, depending on the feedback we get from the community.

How is Hortis most interested in evolving in the immediate future as a result of this collaboration with Species360? And vice versa?

The commitment from the Hortis team of providing a complete cloud-based botanical collection management tool for gardens around the world, remains unchanged. In the short term, our priorities are to offer taxonomy management capabilities and a first version of a public interface by the end of the year, while continually maturing and improving the product based on community feedback. Similarly for ZIMS, the modernisation project will pave the way for greater opportunities of evolving together.

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