Virtual Nation or World-wide Botanic Garden
If this is not the appropriate forum to post this idea, please suggest a better one.
Sometimes, I use Google Street View to "drive down the street" to see what's growing. But it's always disappointing in that, though you can see many great plants, they're always too blurry and you can't see better/other views of them. I'm convinced that there must be a way to create a nationwide or worldwide virtual botanic gardens that is tied in with Google Maps... where people could add quality photo views of plants that already exist in their yards and also add information (Wikipedia-like) that identifies and gives details about the plants that are on view. I can envision such a virtual botanical garden being filled with features devised in such a way that it becomes self-sustaining and self-improving. I think it could be a useful resource for anyone in the horticulture or landscape design industry and their clients... or hobbyists alike.
It could work something like this: while using Google Street View, you can see "floating" marker tags that are on or above individual plants. The floating marker tags could be labeled with the plant's botanical name. Click on a tag and it takes you to another screen that shows thumbnail views of that plant. Click on a thumbnail to see a nice, big, clear photo of that plant. Click on a different thumbnail to see a different view. Click on an "info." link to read information that the owner (or contributor) has added about that specific plant. A person could enter the planting date, if known, to give others an idea of a plants age. I envision that others could add information about the plant, as well. Viewers should be able to indicate to a contributor if a better (or additional) photo is necessary or if more information is needed. People should be able to add plants that are growing in any public area. There could be a way to add plants that are growing in non-public areas, too. Even if a plant doesn't show up in Google Street View, it could show up on the map. If a space has been designed, a designer's name and/or a firm name could be added to give credit to that person or firm.
The most obvious way this would be useful is in helping someone learn to identify plant materials. (Seeing plants in pots at a nursery hardly ever gives one an accurate idea of what the plant is capable of becoming.) This virtual garden should be capable of being searched for specific plants within a specific geographical area. For example, if you see a certain tree that interests you. You immediately see it's botanical name. Then, you can search the town, county, state or zip code to see locations of all of that species that have been entered into the virtual garden. You can visit any of them on the map and see their detailed pictures, etc. If desired, one could personally visit nearby sites to see the real life example. I envision that statistical data about a plant would be searchable in order to help viewers "home in" on specific plant examples.
Do others see something like this being useful? Anyone have ideas about how to move an idea like this forward? Would cooperation be required of Google from the start? Is there a better way to do this?