Citizen scientists have so much to offer, a fact that the covid-19 pandemic has only brought into focus. And, ahead of World Environment Day tomorrow, LeafSnap is an interesting example of how you can leverage the power of citizen science.
This plant-identification app lets you click and discover thousands of plants, flowers, fruits and trees with the help of advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) features. The app identifies these objects from its database. As more and more people submit their photo suggestions, the AI technology database grows.
To start on LeafSnap, you can either click a picture of a leaf or upload an image from your gallery. I tried my luck with the common curry leaves (Murraya koenigii) and then with a fruit, Mangifera indica, or mango. Just ensure that the photo is in focus.
Interestingly, you can build your own catalogue of plants, flowers or fruits identified through LeafSnap—and can see it in the MyPlant section. Once an object is identified, the app shows you details such as the genus, family and species, and the common names. If you want to know more about a particular plant or flower, you can access the links to the Wikipedia and Google entries on them.
The app is available for use in multiple languages. Your shared observations and queries in LeafSnap might also be used for research work, a section in the app explains.
There are some other exciting citizen science apps that look at everything from avian species to connecting citizen scientists around the world. iNaturalist is one of the most popular nature and citizen science apps in the world. It works as a social network of sorts that connects naturalists, citizen scientists, and biologists around the globe.
While the eBird app is a well-known app to identify avian species, BirdNET is another interesting smartphone application that can recognize birds from sounds.
Category: Science and education
Ratings: Google Play Store: 4.6 stars
App Store: 4.7 stars
You could also look at: iNaturalist, BirdNET
Thumb Rule is a series that looks at an app a week to keep you on track.