Have you ever wandered through Rock Creek Park and wished you knew the names of the trees you're looking at? Or how about information about their seeds, fruit, and bark? Well, with a free app from the botanists at the Smithsonian Institution you can have all that information at your fingertips on your iPhone or iPad.
Using facial recognition software the Leafsnap app analyzes an iPhone photo of a leaf and quickly identifies what type of tree it comes from. Suddenly, the tree's whole biography opens before you—with information about the tree's life cycle, likes and dislikes, and what kind of fruit it produces (if any). The location of the tree can be submitted to the researchers' database that is at the beginning stages of cataloging all the trees in the U.S. The iPad version of the app also allows you to choose 'Nearby Species' and see what trees others have tagged in the area. For the time being the app only recognizes trees in DC's Rock Creek Park and New York's Central Park, but the team behind the project is hoping to expand across the country.
· Leafsnap [Official Site]
· What's That Tree? Try Smithsonian's New App To See [NPR]