New App that Identifies Trees Makes Its Debut

Researching my first book, Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England, I would do my best to correctly identify the type of tree I was starting at. Soon after the book was published, however, I received letters from budding arborists telling me those trees on so-and-so trail in Vermont were white oaks, not red oaks. How I wish I had a new app unveiled last month that identifies all the trees in the northeast and soon all of America. Called Leafsnap, the app was developed by scientists at Columbia University, the University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution and is currently available for free on iPhone and iPad. Simply take a picture of a leaf and within seconds a likely species appears with photographs of the tree and information on the tree’s flowers, seeds, and bark. Now I want the Audubon Society to create an app that identifies birds from the sound of its call.