Science and Technology: An App for Idaho Wildflowers

A recently released app is another example of how science and new technologies are being used together to create educational experiences for users.

If Idaho wildflowers are your thing, then you might be interested in the new app from High Country Apps. With a few swipes of your finger, detailed information– photos, descriptions, characteristics– on more than 800 Idaho wildflower species becomes available.

The Stillinger Herbarium at the University of Idaho, the herbarium at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum, and the Ray J. Davis Herbarium at Idaho State University have all partnered with the company High Country Apps to produce the ‘Idaho Wildflowers’ app for iOS, Android and Kindle.

Once downloaded, the app works without an internet connection.

Wildflowers

(Screen shot courtesy High Country Apps)

“‘Idaho Wildflowers’ provides access to information on the breadth of Idaho’s flowers all in one place for the first time,” Dave Tank, a U-Idaho associate professor of biology and director of the Stillinger Herbarium, said in a press release.

“Idaho has a unique flora,” Tank said. “We have influences from the Pacific Northwest in north Idaho, with a maritime climate and deep, dark forests. In the mountains of central Idaho and the southeast we have all the influences from the Rocky Mountains. In the inter-mountain region we have influences from the Great Basin.

“For amateur and professional botanists, it’s always been a struggle. The ‘Idaho Wildflowers’ app provides access to information covering the whole state,” Tank said in the release.

The information in the app was compiled by the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria, which brings together 32 herbaria from around the region. The app uses multi-media platforms, including photos, range maps, and text (such as plant descriptions).

High Country Apps specializes in “creating mobile apps for outdoor enthusiasts,” according to its web site. The company had previously marketed apps for ‘Oregon Wildflowers” and “Washington Wildflowers.” “Montana Grasses” is a recent creation, as well.

The ‘Oregon Wildflowers’ app, which came out earlier this year, has information on almost 1,000 wildflowers and plants found in Oregon and nearby parts of Washington, California, and Idaho.

Copyright 2014 Idaho Public Radio

Posted December 26, 2014

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