Increasingly city born children fail to recognise even the common trees as they have hardly seen them. But now a mobile application has been launched that can identify a species of tree from a photograph of its leaf, which would help these children to know the trees better and easily.
Leafsnap, as the app is known, uses the same technology as face-recognition software to identity the species itself.
It is a joint creation of Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution of the USA.
This free mobile app helps identify tree species from photographs of their leaves and contains beautiful high-resolution images of their flowers, fruit, petiole, seeds, and bark.
The app currently includes the trees of New York City and Washington D.C. only but will soon grow to cover the trees of the entire North America, and probably the world.
The data base of the app will be updated by the users itself. Leafsnap turns users into citizen scientists, automatically sharing images, species identifications, and geo-coded stamps of species locations with a community of scientists who will use the stream of data to map and monitor the flora.
“The Leafsnap family of electronic field guides aims to leverage digital applications and mobile devices to build an ever-greater awareness of and appreciation for biodiversity,” a statement by its creators said.
This application opens a whole new possibility of similar applications which could help in identifying edible fungi; animals; butterflies, birds, wild flowers; the list is endless.
They could help in building huge data base of information which can be used to educate people about their surroundings; it can help in conservation efforts as well.
This app is available free for iPhone users.