Niwot LTER News / News Article ...

May 29, 2015

New alpine plant field guide and identification app

News Story

After a year long collaborative project with Computer Science undergraduate students (Jamie Miller, Brian Bauer, Morgan Garske, Jacob Rail, Andrey Shprengel, Jack Skinner) in CS's Senior Design Course and postdoc Jane Smith from INSTAAR, ENVS PhD student Nathalie Chardon recently launched the Luminous ID app ( This app serves as both 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, 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.


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Related field locations(s):

Niwot Ridge

Related data by disciplines(s):

Plant/vegetation ecology

Niwot Personnel Involved

Related photo galleries

Niwot Ridge Flora

Browse the complete set

  • Alpine avens (Geum rossii)
    Alpine avens (Geum rossii)
  • Columbine (Aquilegia coerulea)
    Columbine (Aquilegia coerulea)
  • Shootingstar (Dodecatheon pulchellum)
    Shootingstar (Dodecatheon pulchellum)
  • Alpine forget-me-not (Eritrichium nanum)
    Alpine forget-me-not (Eritrichium nanum)
  • Old man of the mountain (Tetraneuris grandiflora)
    Old man of the mountain (Tetraneuris grandiflora)
  • Alpine clover (Trifolium dasyphyllum)
    Alpine clover (Trifolium dasyphyllum)
  • Saffron groundsel (Packera crocata)
    Saffron groundsel (Packera crocata)
  • Moss campion (Silene acaulis)
    Moss campion (Silene acaulis)
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement #DEB-1637686. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necesarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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