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Biodiversity

Laurence Goussu - 12/05/2017

The Pl@ntNet directory gets bigger

The Pl@ntNet application enables, with the help of a smartphone, the real-time identification of plants and the collection and sharing of its observations in order to help with their identification.
Originally only used for the monitoring of rare, exotic or endangered plant species, the application is diversifying and opening up its directory to ornamental plants and plants cultivated in our regions, as well as abroad (North America, South America and the West Indies in particular), thereby answering the main questions of its users and enabling the number of references in the directory to almost double.

The Pl@ntNet directory gets bigger

Up until now, the plant image-recognition application covered four geographical areas: Western Europe, North Africa, Reunion and French Guyana.
In 2017, the number of projects has tripled, with the addition of eight new frames of reference, one of which does not correspond to a geographical area but to a theme that is frequently in demand. This massive addition of projects also goes hand in hand with the launch of a new frame of reference concept entitled “micro-project”.

The new projects are as follows:
- United States: 7,618 species
- Canada: 2,795 species
- Hawaii: 765 species
- West Indies, plants of Guadeloupe: 1,169 species
- Tropical Andes, plants of the La Paz valley, Bolivia: 548 species
- Mauritius: 1,001 species
- Western Mediterranean: 1,037 species for the first Asian continent project
- Useful plants: 2,542 species. This project is the application's first themed frame of reference and illustrates cultivated and ornamental plants. This project is selected by default in the application when the smartphone's GPS is not activated.

The new micro-project:
- the Écologistes de l'Euzière environmentalist association: 245 species. This is the application's first “micro-project”, based on the work on wild lettuces “Les salades sauvages et leurs confusions” published by the Écologistes de l’Euzière association for the flora of the Western Mediterranean.

The micro-project concept can be explained by the reduced scale of its scope, both geographically and taxonomically. In the case of the Écologistes de l’Euzière, there is a reduced taxonomic scale (245 species); however we wish to extend this concept to precise geographical and thematic scales, such as parks or specific ecosystems. Users who accept to share their localisation thanks to their GPS will, as a result, eventually be able to access the most suitable frames of reference through precise knowledge of the species around them. The micro-project of a city centre garden will also, for example, provide access to all of the plant species present in this garden, thereby considerably increasing the quality of a Pl@ntNet user's identification.

Finally, thanks to a partnership withEncyclopedia Of Life(EOL), the image bank of all of the frames of reference has been considerably enriched, reaching 586,000 images today. As a result, the number of illustrated species (and therefore recognised by the application) has also increased significantly, going from 8,200 to over 13,000 referenced species.

Making botany accessible to all

The result of collaborative work between computer scientists and botanists, the Pl@ntnet project - backed by the Agropolis Foundation - brings together scientists from Inria (Alexis Jolyand the Zenithresearch team in Montpellier), partners (the French agricultural research organisation CIRAD, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), the French Institute for Research and Development (IRD)) and professional and amateur botanists from the Tela Botanica network.
Originally only used for the monitoring of rare, exotic or endangered plant species, the application has diversified and opened up its directory to ornamental plants and plants cultivated in our regions, as well as abroad (North America, South America and the West Indies in particular), thereby answering the main questions of its users and enabling the number of references in the directory to almost double.

Pl@ntNet has been downloaded more than 3.5 million times and currently has 30,000 users a day.

Keywords: Environnement Application Botanique Plantes Biodiversité

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