As a follow-on to today’s forestry application post, another helpful application launched today. Leafsnap is a mobile application that uses a sophisticated shape identification algorithm to identify the tree species from a photograph. The pocket field guide also includes details about tree flowers, fruit, seeds and bark. The application was developed by Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution.
There’s an element of citizen science here too, as every leaf you label is added to a database to help inform the collective intelligence of other application users as well as scientists. When you take a photo of a leaf the image, species identification and location are shared. While the species in the Northeastern United States are the only ones currently cataloged, there are plans to expand to the entire continental United States. With broad use, scientists will be able to map and monitor the growth and decline of species across the country.
View the video below for more details.