Specialists at UC Berkeley have found a way to collect information about dying oak trees using smartphones. The OakMapper app developed by scientists at the university allows the general public to submit information about trees that have fallen to sudden oak death syndrome.
Maggi Kelly of UC Berkeley Cooperative Extension, has been collecting data through the OakMapper website since 2001. Now with the help of iPhone users and the OakMapper app, she and other specialists can determine where the trees are using the phone's GPS, as well as sick tree symptoms.
“OakMapper is a coordinated monitoring effort, displaying the locations of official confirmations of Phytophthora ramorum (sudden oak death),” Kelly said. “It is also a citizen science project, collecting information about oak mortality from the general public, and it is an outreach tool, showing people where the disease is and providing them with information about the disease.”
The app allows contributors to enter an address, coordinates, or mark the tree on a map. They can also identify the type, and mark the symptoms of the diseased tree.
More information about OakMapper and the application can be found at oakmapper.org.