Blarney Castle, a medieval stronghold and tourist attraction in Ireland, is attaching custom-developed NFC tags to its trees so that gardeners will be able to easily create and update a database of information about each individual tree while they work.
The service has been supplied by NFC solutions provider ZipNFC and is to be extended to the Castle’s shrub collection in the future.
“An Android application on our mobile phones allows us to manage the database whilst working in the gardens, while a GPS feature enables us to map every tree with perfect precision,” Blarney Castle’s Adam Whitbourn explains. “These NFC tags enable us, and eventually the public, to identify each tree ‘in the field’ and provide a link to an online database of information on each tree.
“We are using a range of horti-tags developing in conjunction with ZipNFC. At present, we are using two types. One has a hole in the centre which suits it being nailed to a mature tree behind the existing label, while the other has a length of cord which allows it to be attached to juvenile trees and shrubs. We are currently developing a plant label tag for use in the nursery area.
“These will be simple white labels that can be written on but contain extra information on the tag. The horti-tags can be locked when used for a permanent purpose such as the identification of a tree or rewritten when used in the nursery.”
“Unfortunately, labels are often damaged or removed and tend to be costly,” Whitbourn continued. “This new technology offers many advantages over conventional tagging methods. This project is currently in its early stages of development but is already proving its worth.”