Flora Incognita: TU Ilmenau's plant identification app goes on tour with MS Wissenschaft
When the exhibition ship MS Wissenschaft embarks on a tour of Germany today (03.05.2022), Flora Incognita will also be on board. The plant identification app developed by researchers at Technischen Universität Ilmenau and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena is one of 25 selected exhibits that invite people of all ages to discover, try out and participate in the floating science center until September 16. During its 4,5-month voyage, the MS Wissenschaft, an initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, will dock in 31 cities, including the Spree, Rhine, Neckar, Moselle and Saar rivers. During the "Science Year 2022 - In Demand!", young people from the age of about twelve can also take a look behind the scenes of research and thus become curious about science and research.
Flora Incognita, the app for automatic plant identification, is extremely successful, with more than five million installations. But what is the technology behind it? What methods did the scientists use to develop the app? What motivated them to develop the app? And what contribution can private individuals make to monitoring biodiversity and thus protecting nature?
Visitors can find answers to these questions on board the MS Wissenschaft - and touching is expressly permitted. In the belly of the converted cargo ship, the Flora Incognita is simulated on a touchscreen. Nature enthusiasts can select different plant species on a virtual meadow and learn the names of the plants and their importance for nature conservation and science. Maps and videos show how Flora Incognita makes an important contribution to documenting plant diversity.
Since the app was released four years ago, it has been installed more than five million times on Android, iOS and Harmony OS devices - far beyond Germany: 45 percent of installations are from outside Germany and the app is currently available free of charge in 19 languages. The dataset includes all of Germany's wild flora, with around 3,000 species, and another 2,000 prominent plant species of Central Europe. In the summer months, up to 370,000 plant determinations take place on a single day.
On the MS Wissenschaft, which has a length of 102 meters and a loading area of 600 square meters, Flora Incognita can usually be experienced daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; school classes are welcome as early as 9 a.m. In addition to the exhibition, there is a supporting program in many cities along the route with discussion events, scientific film evenings and workshops for school classes. Admission to the exhibition is free.
Information on the Flora Incognita app: www.floraincognita.de
Information on the MS Wissenschaft, its mooring points and dates, and guided tours of the exhibition: www.ms-wissenschaft.de
Prof. Patrick Mäder
Head of Group Data-intensive Systems and Visualization
+49 3677 69-4839