Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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LeafSnapBy simply taking a picture of a leaf, Leafsnap can help the user identify tree species. Visual recognition technology is now an incredible smart phone application. Started as a joint NSF funded research project involving Columbia University, the University of Maryland and Smithsonian Institution researchers, Leafsnap is now available as a free app. What was initially planned as a tool for botanists to catalogue fast shrinking species quickly became a tool for the interested citizen to use while walking through the woods.

Computer scientists at Columbia University and the University of Maryland developed image recognition software while botanists at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History created a huge leaf image library of trees surrounding the Washington DC area and of trees in Central Park in New York City that all comes together in the LeafSnap application. LeafSnap not only identifies a tree species, it provides incredible images of tree characters, gives more information on the species and will map the locality where the image is taken. The iPad version will even give the user a map showing where other specimens of the same species can be found near the iPad location. Released in May 2011, Leafsnap has had over a million downloads.

Go to Leafsnap and take a look and learn more.

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