Field Research Project: Plant Identification at the Biocore Prarie
BioCore students increased their speed and accuracy in plant identification with a UW–Madison-developed mobile field research tool.
In the Fall of 2013, in collaboration with Seth McGee and the BioCore program, MLI developed and evaluated a mobile app for identifying prairie plants. Proven to be faster and more accurate than using a traditional dichotomous key of field guide, the program quickly filters down to potential matches based on choosing a few simple plant attributes.
By leveraging human skills at visual pattern recognition, and computing’s ability to sort and filter, this work will be foundational in developing a more general field research tool for all sorts of identification and assessment activities. MLI envisions that this will lead to a spreadsheet-driven platform, so any faculty or student can apply it to their own identification and assessment problems and quickly and inexpensively create their own tool.
iOS Source Code: https://github.com/UWMLI/FieldResearchTool
Choose a plant component
View remaining plant possibilities
- The mobile app increased the accuracy and efficiency of plant identification of novice users in comparison to the traditional field guide
- Having students work in pars and having each member of the team have a resource (app or field guide) increases the amount of communication which may increase learning
Seth McGee – Biocore Instructor, Subject Expert
David Gagnon – Producer, Designer, Co-Researcher
Breanne Litts – Lead Researcher
John Martin – Co-Researcher, Co-Designer
Justin Moeller – Developer
Nick Heidl – Developer
Phil Dougherty – Developer
Casey Shmoeger – Biocore Student Assistant
Nick Dykstra – Biocore Student Assistant
Sarah Tilton – Biocore Student Assistant
Shelby Copeland – MLI Video Producer
Special Thanks to the Biocore Prairie Crew