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Dr M to test botanical Apps at BSBI Annual Exhibition Meeting, Leicester

It seems only a moment ago Dr M was deleting his talk at the last Annual Exhibition Meeting of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (Natural History Museum, London 2013 – and if you missed it, he retrieved it and you can revisit it here and here).

But now it’s all botanical stations go once more, and Saturday will see the 2014 BSBI AEM, this time at the University of Leicester.

Leicester is the home of The Book of Stace, and indeed of the man himself and Clive Stace will be delivering the keynote address and introducing his forthcoming publication, The Book of Hybrids.

Dr M will also be there with some of his students on the University of Reading MSc Plant Diversity and MSc SISS.

Although Dr M is not allowed on stage this year (well after last year, who can blame them!) he will be on his eXtreme botanical soap box, this time tackling the thorny electronic issue of Plant Appability.

Technology is bringing us more and more each day, there’s an App for almost everything, even for plant ID!

  • but how good are they?
  • and will they ever supersede hard copy keys and flower guides?
  • or will they always be just an optional extra?

To address these questions, Dr M will be inviting BSBI AEM participants to check out some recent botanical Apps.

Appability testing will include:

Dr M will also be pleased to hear from participants about their experiences of any other Apps, especially ones that work!

Dr M can only trial Apple Apps on the day but he encourages participants to come along with their Android device and demonstrate Android Apps such as:

Dr M is a fan of internet technology (hence DrMGoesWild) but Dr M is also a huge and devoted fan of the traditional tools of the eXtreme botanists trade – hard copy keys and wildflower guides, the herbarium and the library, not to mention brilliant teachers – and these play such a formative and fundamental role in educating the eXtreme botanist they will never be superseded.

BUT (and it is a biggish, though perfectly proportioned BUT) technology leaps ahead and continually surprises Dr M (OK so it occasionally disappoints too, but hell that’s life), so Dr M expects that the coming years will see technology and brilliant and creative technological and botanical minds developing and delivering better and better support to work alongside traditional plant ID.




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