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What’s Out There Now Optimized for Handheld Devices

New What’s Nearby function allows GPS-enabled devices to identify What’s Out There sites up to a 25-mile radius from any given location.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s web-based What’s Out There (WOT), a searchable database of the nation’s publicly accessible designed landscapes, has been optimized for smartphones and similar handheld devices.

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The database, launched in October 2009, spans more than two centuries of American landscape design and is searchable by landscape name, locale, designer, type, and style. It’s profusely illustrated and includes a glossary of 27 types, 49 subtypes, and 14 styles, more than 650 designer profiles (from the Pioneers of American Landscape Design), 1,300 site entries, 9,000 images, descriptions of some of our country’s most important cultural landscapes, and relevant links. Larger text and photos are among the features of the new handheld device interface along with maps and photos that can be “scrolled” to see the next page, and a simplified menu that focuses on What’s Out There, Pioneers, and foundation-organized events.

The most significant new feature, What's Nearby, allows GPS-enabled devices to identify WOT sites up to a 25-mile radius from any given location. Funding for the handheld optimization was made possible by grants from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training.

“The greatest increase in traffic to WOT and the foundation’s website is coming from handheld devices, which more than doubled in the past year,” says Charles A. Birnbaum, FASLA, TCLF founder and president. “The upgrades and improvements, particularly the What’s Nearby function, will permit landscape lovers, heritage travelers, or simply those with some spare time, to discover, visit, and enjoy the nation’s rich legacy of designed landscapes.”

Additions from around the country are made each week to WOT, and there are also initiatives focused on individual states. In 2012, more than 150 Maine sites were added in a dedicated project funded in part with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts ArtWorks program. TCLF created the Maine entries working in partnership with the Maine Historical Society. In 2013, a dedicated effort also funded with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts ArtWorks program will produce at least 100 sites in Virginia. The work will be done in collaboration with faculty and students from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and the University of Virginia.

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