Why ?

The difficulty encountered by non-botanists when identifying species using standard flora is centered around three major constraints, namely:

  • The ability to identify the species without its flowers or before its flowers;
  • The use of dichotomous key, which cannot tolerate any error and imposes the choice as well as the order of questions; and
  • The use of technical terms not understood by the non-specialists.

Advantage of IDAO

In order to minimize and resolve these constraints, the identification system uses a graphical system which reconstitutes the plants using images. This method has several advantages:

  • It only uses drawings instead of technical jargon.
  • It provides users the freedom to choose the character that needs to be described.
  • Missing information or data are permitted, thus allowing for the identification of incomplete samples.
  • Certain level of observational errors are also tolerated.
  • At each step of the identification process, a probability of resemblance is calculated for each species.
  • Thus species are sorted by decreasing order of similarity.
  • At each step and moment, users could access the photos, the description, and the botanical illustrations of the species.
  • In case users encounter doubt in the choice of characters (for description), they could ask the program for the most pertinent one.
  • If the probability of a species identified is less than 100 percent, the program indicates the characters that contain bad description.
  • Descriptions of the species can be available through Internet Website with any type of browser.
  • The program being multilingual, it caters to a larger section of people.
  • All the technical terms used are highlighted and at a click, an hypertext illustrated definition is accessible.
  • Distribution of the species with GIS capabilities

  • A tool for :
  • Young scientist training and capacity building
  • Species identification for biodiversity studies
  • Information dissemination

IDAO contribution

IDAO is an open source plants identification software selected to be a part of the global PlantNet project :

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