Digital Field Guides

Digital Tree Guide

Researchers are developing a way to identify trees by digital images of their leaves. A hand-held electronic field guide takes a picture of a leaf, sends the image to a database, and provides a list of 5-10 possible matches.

Each species has roughly 20 images associated with it, and if the image alone does not work, people will be able to include other characteristics such as bark color, flowers, flower color, etc.

“We believe there is enough information in a single leaf to identify a species,” he said. “Our brains can’t remember all of these characteristics, but the computer can.”

Right now, it only contains images from the Northeast of the United States, but it will slowly spread.  Each region will have different species of plants, which will require a different database of images.

Read more from the NY Times.


About repplinger

John has served as a Reference Librarian at Willamette University since 2002. He is the liaison to the Science Departments, and is responsible for maintaining the collections related to the life & physical sciences. His research interests range over the entire spectrum of libraries and information sciences, but includes: - Google and its influence on information & society - The Internet's influence on information seeking & sharing behaviors - Trends of scholarly communication - Electronic learning environments - Traditional pedagogy - GIS use in academic libraries

Posted on May 11, 2009, in Tech Toys and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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