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Help needed to expand plant identification iPhone app to western North America

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  • Sam Droege
    All: No matter what our natural history area of specialty, we all depend on the identification of vegetation and plants at some point in our careers.
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 21, 2012
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      No matter what our natural history area of specialty, we all depend on the identification of vegetation and plants at some point in our careers. Traditionally we learned these through the use of field guides and botanical keys, however now that smart phones have matured and have become reasonably smart there is a capacity for identification that they can add over time that will become part of our standard toolbox.

      One such effort is going on with a program called leafsnap which has been beta tested using the trees of the Northeast. The development group would now like to expand the guide to include trees from throughout North America north of Mexico and the message below present some detailsfrom the University of Maryland group about how you can make a contribution by sending them photographs of identified trees. Just think of this as passing on the efforts that your mentors and natural history heroes passed on to you when you were learning. Now, hopefully we have new generations to come that will be interested in natural history who will have new, and perhaps easier, tools.  

      One realizes that these new efforts are going to be imperfect and I am sure that the developers would be interested in your insights as you are the arbiters of good natural history.  

      Feel free to pass on to other groups and interested parties.

      Message below
      Calling all nature enthusiasts! We need your help to build the world’s most comprehensive electronic field guide for plants. Our existing iPhone app, Leafsnap, uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves. However, our current database only includes trees in the Northeast U.S. Help us expand that coverage by uploading images of tree leaves using the iNaturalist app (available for both iOS and Android devices). Detailed instructions for participating in this exciting mobile crowdsourcing project are available here: http://biotrackers.net/Leafsnap-Project/home.html



      Sam Droege  sdroege@...                     
      w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
      USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
      BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD  20705

      The Identification of Grasses

      A grass can be "glumey" in more ways than one,
      When its classification remains to be done;
      You pull off the parts, and soon feel your age
      Chasing them over the microscope stage!

      You peer through the lenses at all of the bracts
      And hope your decisions agree with the facts;
      While you oculist chortles with avid delight
      As you strain both your eyes in the dim table light.

      You are left on the horns of quite a dilemma
      When you count the nerves on the back of the lemma;
      Then you really get snoopy and turn each on turtle
      To see if the flower is sterile or fertile.

      And then the compression, no problem is meaner -
      Is it flat like your wallet or round like a wiener?
      "How simple," you think, "for a mind that is keen"-
      But what do you do when it's half-way between?

      You probe and you guess how the florets will shatter,
      For you know later on it is certain to matter;
      You long for the calmness of labor that's manual
      When the question arises-"perennial" or "annual"?

      And that terrible texture, the meanest of all,
      Is one of the pitfalls in which you can fall;
      "Cartilaginous" maybe-or is it "chartaceous"?
      Has even the experts exclaiming "Good gracious!"

      Then you wail as you wade through the long tribal key,
      "Oh, why must his awful thing happen to me?"
      "Grasses are easy," our teacher declares,
      As he mops off a brow that is crowned with gray hairs!

      H.D. Harrington
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