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Pl@ntNet

Camille Liewig - 6/08/2009

Inria makes its IKONA search engine available for the Pl@ntNet service

Recherche d'images par similarité avec le logiciel Ikona  © INRIA / Projet IMEDIA  © Inria / Projet IMEDIA

The goal of Pl@ntNet is to share the world’s botanical knowledge over the Web. This is an original and ambitious project in which Inria is involved through the IKONA search engine developed by the IMEDIA team.

Could you trust the Internet like your pharmacist to know whether the mushroom that you have just picked is edible or not? Within four years, the answer might well be “yes”. Thanks to the Pl@ntNet Web platform, you will very soon be able to load the photograph of your mushroom into an image database to automatically and rapidly identify its species and know whether it is safe or toxic.

The Pl@ntNet project aims to create a collaborative web platform for sharing the world’s botanical knowledge. The platform will act as a tool for enhancing the inventory of biodiversity and for facilitating the identification of known or unknown plant species on all five continents. As a kind of Wikipedia of the world’s flora, Pl@ntNet will be based on a collaborative network of research scientists, experts and amateur botanists and will grow with their contributions. The platform will incorporate Inria’s IKONA search engine, the outcome of the work of the IMEDIA team and of its head, Nozha Boujemaa, a Research Director who also happens to be the coordinator of the Pl@ntNet project.

IKONA, which is currently in operation, is a new kind of search engine. Forget the traditional search using keywords – this new tool no longer searches text associated with an image but the image itself directly by means of an automatic association and identification process. Users can thus query the database of images by comparing a photograph taken using their mobile phone with those that are already in the database.

In parallel to its involvement with the Pl@ntNet project, the IMEDIA team will pursue the development of IKONA to improve its quality, especially in respect of the identification of the colours, textures and forms of images. These enhancements will extend the tool’s applications and enable it to be used in other fields, such as the press, entomology, customs, etc.

Keywords: Pl@ntNet IKONA IMEDIA team Agropolis foundation Multimedia Nozha Boujemaa

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