While traditional nature guides may never go out of style, tech savvy nature lovers can now use their iPhones to discover the world around them.
Thanks to West Virginia University alumnus Jason Siniscalchi, there’s an app for that.
Three apps, actually, that give users access to extensive databases for identifying flora and fauna around them all with the swipe of a finger.
Siniscalchi, who earned a doctorate degree in forest resources sciences from the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, said Fish ID, Garden ID and Tree ID were born from his love of nature and technology.
“In 2003 and 2004, while working on my doctorate I would often go to the arboretum to walk around and collect my thoughts,” he said. “Though the trees are labeled for you, I thought it would be helpful to have a tree guide to carry with me, except I wanted to use technology.”
During a time when the Pocket PC was the “in” handheld device, Siniscalchi, a research social scientist at the United States Coast Guard Academy Leadership Development Center, began building the Tree ID database, collecting information on North American trees and their characteristics. Although he enjoyed doing the research and seeing the database grow, the project hit a snag.
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