Tools and Software

Luminous ID

After a year long collaborative project at CU Boulder between the Computer Science Department, the Environmental Studies program, and INSTAAR, lab member Nathalie Chardon recently launched the Luminous ID app. This app serves as an alpine plant field guide, and can recognize the alpine cushion plant Silene acaulis. The field guide currently consists of flowering plants occurring on Niwot Ridge at CU's Mountain Research Station, and the filtering function allows users to quickly narrow down a list of possible species. The identification algorithm encoded within the app immediately tells users if they've taken a picture of S. acaulis, and this information is uploaded to a server along with GPS coordinates of the user's location. As S. acaulis is a common alpine species found throughout the northern hemisphere, this will be incredibly useful in mapping the species' widespread distribution. Coupled with climate and topographical data, the data generated from this citizen science project will be invaluable in answering questions about the distributional constraints on this species.