The Smithsonian Institution, Columbia University and the University of Maryland have pooled their expertise to create the world’s first plant identification mobile app using visual search—Leafsnap.
This electronic field guide allows users to identify tree species simply by taking a photograph of the tree’s leaves. In addition to the species name, Leafsnap provides high-resolution photographs and information about the tree’s flowers, fruit, seeds and bark—giving the user a comprehensive understanding of the species.
Users of Leafsnap will also be contributing to science. As people use Leafsnap, the free mobile app automatically shares their images, species identifications and the tree’s location with a community of scientists. These scientists will use the information to map and monitor population growth and decline of trees nationwide. Leafsnap’s current database includes only the trees of the Northeast, but it will soon expand to cover the trees of the entire continental United States. leafsnap.com.