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First Steps toward an Electronic Field Guide for Plants

Gaurav Agarwal, Peter Belhumeur, Steven Feiner, David Jacobs, W. John Kress, Ravi Ramamoorthi, Norman A. Bourg, Nandan Dixit, Haibin Ling, Dhruv Mahajan, Rusty Russell, Sameer Shirdhonkar, Kalyan Sunkavalli and Sean White
Taxon
Vol. 55, No. 3 (Aug., 2006), pp. 597-610
DOI: 10.2307/25065637
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25065637
Page Count: 14
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
First Steps toward an Electronic Field Guide for Plants
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Abstract

We describe an ongoing project to digitize information about plant specimens and make it available to botanists in the field. This first requires digital images and models, and then effective retrieval and mobile computing mechanisms for accessing this information. We have almost completed a digital archive of the collection of type specimens at the Smithsonian Institution Department of Botany. Using these and additional images, we have also constructed prototype electronic field guides for the flora of Plummers Island. Our guides use a novel computer vision algorithm to compute leaf similarity. This algorithm is integrated into image browsers that assist a user in navigating a large collection of images to identify the species of a new specimen. For example, our systems allow a user to photograph a leaf and use this image to retrieve a set of leaves with similar shapes. We measured the effectiveness of one of these systems with recognition experiments on a large dataset of images, and with user studies of the complete retrieval system. In addition, we describe future directions for acquiring models of more complex, 3D specimens, and for using new methods in wearable computing to interact with data in the 3D environment in which it is acquired.

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