In its online news of 25 December 2012, Scientific American editors named Leafsnap as one of the top 10 science apps for smart phones or tablets. Leafsnap identifies a tree species by taking a picture of a leaf. The app was created by Columbia University, University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution, and funded by a National Science Foundation grant. John Kress and Ida Lopez headed a group of contractors, volunteers and interns at the Botany Department as the library of leaf images was amassed for the project. The app was released for public use in May 2011. Since its release, over a million downloads have occurred.
Leafsnap has a library of 185 common species of trees found in the northeastern United States. Along with high resolution images of tree characters, the app offers a brief description of each species, gives a link to the Encyclopedia of Life species page and simultaneously maps the location where the leaf image is taken. This free app is available for download at the iTunes Store.
Work continues to increase the number of tree species found in Leafsnap.