By Columbia University, University of Maryland, and Smithsonian Institution
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Leafsnap is the first in a series of electronic field guides being developed by researchers from Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution. This free mobile app uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from photographs of their leaves.
Leafsnap contains beautiful high-resolution images of leaves, flowers, fruit, petiole, seeds, and bark. Leafsnap currently includes the trees of the Northeast and will soon grow to include the trees of the entire continental United States.
What's New in Version 1.05
- Fixed a major bug that crashes the app when using the Snap It! feature
Useless as a field guide
The first major downfall of this app is that it relies and always will rely on a wireless connection. Any true field guide or identification app should be independent of wireless service. What good does this app do if your on a hike without a connection. The second fault with this is that you have to have a white background to take the picture of the leaf or needle on, now you have to carry something white with you just to use the app. I tested this out on 5 species of trees here in my yard in the Adirondacks, NY. I collected the 5 samples and brought them indoors to use my Wifi connection. You have to wait up to 5 minutes for the results to come back, not something I want to do. The app doesnt identify the exact species only what is close and of those 5 species it only came up with results for 2 of them, Sugar Maple which I had to wade through 28 other results to find and White Cedar which was closer with only one other evergreen species to chose from but it also had 30 broad leaf trees included. The three species it failed to identify which are easily recognized trees were Hemlock, Balsam Fir and White Pine. The pictures were not the greatest quality and don't expand to full screen to see good detail. Very disappointing and it won't ever be useful as long as it relies on wirless service. I've been using the MyNature Tree App for over a year now, it's a pay app but at least it does what it says it does, identify trees!
For where it's at now, it's truly great
Let me first say that I was immediately bummed that it just contained trees of the Northeast. I want trees of the West more than anything because that's where I do almost all of my hiking and exploring. However, the app description describes this as a work in progress and will eventually contain trees of the entire U.S. and I get that it takes time. I just hope that this isn't yet another promise-unfulfilled app where the developers just sort of abandon it and do the every year "Bug fix" update and that's it. I'm SO tired of those.
That said, I give this app 5 stars based on its beautiful execution. I browse it and am genuinely impressed by the thought that went into how to ID leaves, flowers, fruit, bark, etc. It's clear and consistent throughout. I could imagine this app filled with evergreens, cedars, cactus and others and hope it will be soon. This is the way a tree app should be done!
Great little app! I was looking for something simple that I could use to take a picture of the tree's leaf in order to identify the tree. This is the only app that I know of that does just that and it is extremely easy to use. I just use the back of business cards that I carry to place behind the leaves as I take their pictures. The application proposes several trees if it cannot definitively find an exact match. I really do not understand why this application does rate much, much better than it does. It has yet to fail to find a match!!!!! The most recent was a common persimmon which was the 15th of 25 proposed matches of a very common looking leaf. I was able to positively identify the tree via the additional information which the application provides for each proposed match, which the application provides for each if the many thousands of trees in its' database.
- Category: Education
- Updated: May 15, 2011
- Version: 1.05
- Size: 53.2 MB
- Language: English
- Seller: Peter Belhumeur
- © 2011 Columbia University, University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution
Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.2 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.