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A graphical tool for computer-assisted plant identification

Grard P., Bonnet P., Prospéri M.J., Le Bourgeois T., Edelin C., Théveny F., Carrara A.. 2009. In : Weitzman Anna L. (ed.). Proceedings of TDWG 2009 Annual Conference, Montpellier, France, 9-13 november 2009. Montpellier : Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG), p. 85. TDWG 2009 Annual Conference, 2009-11-09/2009-11-13, Montpellier (France).

Species identification is a major constraint for biodiversity conservation. Conventional identification tools are usually difficult to use for non-specialists, mainly because they require important botanical knowledge during the identification process. For this reason, we developed a graphical identification approach that resulted in the IDAO (IDentification Assistée par Ordinateur) software. Through simple clicks on vector drawings, the user selects morphological (shape, size, position, color and texture of organs) or ecological characters corresponding to the plant he/she wants to identify, thus building a sort of ¿identikit picture¿ for the species. The software compares this set to all those available in its database with a simple matching coefficient, and provides a probable identification. At any time during the process, the user may consult species description files. Missing information is tolerated, users can thus access to a result of their identification, without the use of all characters of identification. Numerous illustrations are present in each species description in order to facilitate identification. This graphic multi-entry identification system has been adapted to various floras (weeds, trees, orchids) around the world (West Africa, India, Cambodia, etc.), for weed control or biodiversity conservation. It is accessible on-line on Internet(, or available on Cd-rom. Current developments on the new version of this identification tool include (i) a free open version, which will allow adaptation of the graphic interface by users according to their own flora, (ii) generalisation of the use of open drawing format (SVG: Scalable Vector Graphics), (iii) the extension of this approach to new characters (such as anatomical characters of the wood), and floras (such as paddy fields weeds). There is no constraint for the use of this tool for the identification of animal species; it wasn't realized however until today. (Texte intégral)

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