Rating: GoMobile speculates on what features it should have
Currently, the UK’s population of Ash trees is under attack from a deadly fungus called Chalara fraxinea also known as Ash dieback. Concerned organisations are launching a new web site today [Monday 29th October 2012] to provide information to concerned citizens. However, GoMobile News suggests that the proposed ashtag smartphone app might prove a highly efficient tool to combat the spread of the disease. Especially if it works anything like the way a popular Apple iOS app – leafsnap, does.The situation is, of course, serious. The UK has a population of some 80 million Ash trees which more importantly represent some 30 per cent of the UK’s entire tree coverage.
It seems that Ash dieback spores are blowing across the North Sea to the UK Norfolk and Suffolk regions where the first infected sites have been found.
With UK government cutbacks to the Forestry Commission, the authorities need all the help they can get from the public. Which is where a smartphone app would come in.
In its most basic format (and we say this because no details of the smartphone app are presently available on the Ashtag web site here), the app could be utilised to forward photos of suspected infections.
Far more useful is the fact that virtually every smartphone these days has a GPS capability so a highly accurate – if not precise, indication of the infected tree’s location could be forwarded.
Better still, the smartphone’s camera could be used to positively identify an infection or at least confirm that the tree in question really is an Ash tree by taking a picture of its leaf.
Developed by Columbia University, University of Maryland, and Smithsonian Institution, Leafsnap for iOS is intended to help its user identify trees and plants from leaves, flowers, fruit, petiole, seeds, and bark.
It was originally developed for North America but according to our sources, data which will enable British trees and plants to be identified is being added.
You can download Leafsnap for free from here.
Leafsnap is currently only available for the iPhone and other iOS devices. We hope that ashtag hasn’t made the same mistake and provides both iOS and Android versions.