Tree Identification Apps

Tree Identification Apps

January 06, 2020

I downloaded three different plant/ tree identification apps to assess and compare the effectiveness of each one.

Constraints

  1. I could only download 3 apps.
  2. I would test the effectiveness of each app using the same trees for each app. 
  3. I would only be using these apps for the purposes of tree identification (not shrub or bush ID) since we are a company that makes furniture from fallen urban timber.  
  4. I could only download free apps for the sake of ease and convenience. 

Apps Downloaded

PlantNet - This app takes images of each plant inputted by the user, and then gives different possible matches. All I had to do was determine WHICH search result best matched the tree I was attempting to identify.

Pros

Cons

Outside Research Suggested?

Good For Non Experts?

It can’t be overstated the amount of information this app gives for each species. Very in depth.

If you don’t know a lot about botany, selecting the correct search result to match your tree might be a bit of a struggle.

Yes

Yes, but only if you put in the effort and do outside research.

 

Forest Tree Identification - Unlike the other two apps on this list, Forest Tree Identification has the user sift through different pictorial categories based on leaf shape, leaf arrangement, leaf margin, leaf tip, ect. to determine plant species. After going through and selecting an option from each category, you are then given a handful of possible species. Essentially, this app doesn’t involve the user taking a picture of their plant for identification.

Pros

Cons

Outside Research Suggested?

Good For Non Experts?

The high number of categories is useful and very detailed.


The fact that you are going through and selecting an option based on each category means an incorrect identification will only ever occur because of user error. No incorrect IDs due to an algorithm giving you a wrong match based on a picture you took.

The existence of apps that let you take a picture of the tree probably make the whole concept of Forest Tree Identification tedious and inconvenient for some.


It’s impossible to search for a tree using its common name, you have to use it’s scientific name.

Yes

Probably not, but getting a correct identification is definitely possible for non experts. 


Plant Identification: Plant ID -  This app has you take a picture of the plant, and will then give you a match based on the picture. Each picture only gives one possible match, and some info from the species Wikipedia page.

Pros

Cons

Outside Research Suggested?

Good For Non Experts?

Attractive visuals and animations while the app loads its match.


Simple layout.


Easy to use. 

Bizarre grammar/ spelling errors. 


There’s a pencil button whose icon makes it unclear as to the function of said button.


Sometimes analysis of the same plant will yield different identifications/ the accuracy of some IDs should be called into question. 

Yes, outside research is probably necessary to validate the accuracy of each identification.

Yes.