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Design Under Sky discusses landscape architecture, the utilitarian but leaning towards the conceptual, thinking on modern occurrences and peripheral boundaries.  

DUS is the blog and personal design studio of Adam E. Anderson, a designer based out of the East Coast, currently a Critic at the Rhode Island School of Design, and a designer at Landworks Studio.

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Fieldwork | Mobile Tree Identification

{Image via NYT. A prototype for an iPhone program, left, matches a picture of an oak leaf to a database. The prototype has been tested at Central Park in New York. Software to identify leaves by searching a field guide on a PC or a phone could be useful not only to hikers but also to scientists compiling data.}

It is important for a Landscape Architect to understand a wide variety about plants.  It is one of the many mediums used and the greater we can anticipate how a certain organism will react in a given environment, the more effective our selections will be.  

We are however not horticulturists, and the demand for us to be familiar with several disciplines limits the depth of how much we can know about each one.

Technology is coming to our aide.  And if we're criticized again by the likes of Will Alsop for not being able to identify a tree in the field, we'll simply respond, we don't have to!

A new application being developed by a team of researchers funded by the National Science Foundation gathers info from a database of thousands of images to enable you to properly identify a tree or shrub by using a photo taken from a mobile device.

As an intern or young employee, out in the field with the chore of identifying acres of existing plant life, this can be a daunting chore, especially if your plant i.d. isn't up to par.  Rather then returning to the office with hundreds of branches that you weren't quite sure of, take your iphone and handle it all in the field.

What would be the really interesting next step for this technology is to incorporate geospatial mapping to the photographed tree identity.  Once the tree is properly identified and tagged, it is recorded and color-coded onto a site plan, saving yet another step of compiling all of this field work into a accurate existing plant material plan. Perhaps even further down the road, certain infrared photo technologies will exist within smartphones that will also record and map plant health and existing ecology factors that might influence site planning matters.

+ Via The New York Times

Reader Comments (9)

i'm dying for a good iPhone dendrology program.
When will this be available, and for how much $$?

July 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJase

They are still only releasing testing versions with no announcement on timing or price. I would imagine it should be out within in the year, and almost all iphone apps have been moderately priced.
July 13, 2009 | Registered CommenterAdam E. Anderson
There is an app TreeID that not as sophisticated does provide a lot of ways to search for trees and gives information for over 250 trees, so so the next update claims.
September 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLS

Can you provide a link?
September 20, 2009 | Registered CommenterAdam E. Anderson
Any updates?
October 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJase
A year till we get to run and use this feature! =O
Btw...does it really work for iphones too as the guy in the picture holds some Vaios device.
November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSolano
This sure is what innovative technology is all about as this way we get to identify the allergens in the environment and is most beneficial for people who suffer from allergies.
December 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBaby Slings
There are many technical advancement that have saved us from many day to day problems.
February 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersoftware icons
This is a worthwhile project. I have done some work on birch trees and the healing vine, red with red leaves, that can grow near them while the tree incubaits parasytical plants. In Ault Park, in Cincinnati, Ohio there is such a vine and White Birch tree scenario that is really beautiful. The vine heals heat emissions from muscular pains and light infractures of the skin that are heat humidifying in the body's interior. I wanted to lead a mapping project to give greater citation to White Birch trees and where they are going so that hikers can find this vine and learn more about its growing habits. Is this possible to find with your current project. My concept was to use the citations once gathered as blogs on car satellite and mapping devices, so that people can start discovering the parks and areas along the highways that do not always experience hikers. Your project also sounds interesting. I hope this sounds hellpful. I do have an article I have written on this topic that might have been intededed for Boys Quest, but consider this pop-up or blog project as well for your purposes. You seem to have a better project developed and at hand. My e-mail is
October 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara L. Marion

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