Cell Phone Photography – documenting endangered plants

Cataloging and documenting data has been a primary asset of the Smithsonian. If you walk into any of the museums you will see archives of data and artifacts preserving history. A team of researchers from Columbia University, Maryland University and the Smithsonian are working on a project to archive various species of plants. The project uses Smart Phones as devices to capture and record plant specimens.

The project was started by Dr. Sean White, a student at Columbia University. He designed an electronic field guide to catalog plant specimens. Today the project has grown on a vast scale and researchers are designing prototypes that would enable Smart Phones to capture and document various kinds of leaf samples and match them to specimens in an online archive. The project is called LeafView – an App for Smart Phones like Iphone, Android etc. that enables users to simply photograph a leaf and upload the information to a central database. The information is then used for research to follow the impact of climate change on our natural habitats.  The App also allows researchers to create digital archives of plant species. The first prototype of the project was launched earlier this year.

Written for and published on the Amvona Blog

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