February 22, 2020

MyNature Animal Tracks MyNature Tree Guide MyNature Animal Tracks MyNature Fishing App

What’s a Good Tree App?

I’ve been asked so many times “What’s a good tree app” that I figured I may as well do a quick blog post on what a good tree app for a field guide should have for content.  So without further ado here’s my checklist.

  • The one most important thing any outdoor or nature app should have is the ability to be self contained, that is, not rely on a wireless signal.  I don’t have a solid figure on how much of North American wilderness has cell coverage but if I were a betting man I would say less than 20%. I’ve hiked all over the Adirondacks, Yellowstone, the North Woods of Maine and parts of the Pacific Coast and cell service was pretty non existent in all those places. If any app your installing for outdoor use relies on wireless service then that app is totally useless, delete it now and save yourself future frustration.
  • A good tree app should have a search feature that walks you through a series of questions or selections to narrow down the possible choices of what your trying to identify. Either the first or last selection in that search feature should be your physical location.  There’s no need in filtering through oak trees native to California if your in the state of Vermont.
  • A trees leaf or needle structure should be the main focus of any search, for example; Are the leaves opposite or alternate? Are the needles in groups of 2, 3 0r 5?  Are the leaves compound, how long are they, are they lobed etc. ?
  • In a really good tree app there should be a complete library of images of the following for each tree featured: leaf or needle, bark, profile, fruit or cone, fall leaf  and range map.

Those are the absolute basics a tree app should have to perform well. You may be thinking Image Recognition for trees, seen it, tested it and I’m here to tell you it’s a great idea if it worked but it just simply doesn’t. One of the biggest misconceptions people have is that an image recognition app is going to tell you the exact tree your trying to ID. It doesn’t. What it does is give you a list of possible matches and the user has to go through that list and find out which tree is a match.

So which app fits all the characteristics mentioned?  What’s a good tree app?  I’m a little biased on that but I can tell you it’s the MyNature Tree Guide.  It does all that’s mentioned above plus more!  Is it free? No, not free but it works and after all isn’t that what you want in an app.

Enjoy the Outdoors!

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