Instant Identification of Trees Is Possible Using Smartphone App

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LeafSnap Mobile App

The Leafsnap smartphone app
Botanists from the Smithsonian Institution have helped develop a smartphone app that can identify tree species within seconds using visual recognition software and then share the location with a database of tree populations. After a user takes a photo of a leaf with his or her smartphone device, the so-called Leafsnap app searches a library of leaf photographs compiled by Smithsonian and almost immediately delivers high-resolution photographs of the likely species, along with information on flowers, fruits, seeds, and bark. In addition, the geographical data of that query is shared with a community of scientists tracking flora across the U.S. Currently, the app covers all trees found in New York City’s Central Park and Washington’s Rock Creek Park, but will eventually provide a database of trees nationwide, said John Kress, a Smithsonian research botanist who developed the app with engineers from Columbia University and the University of Maryland.