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National parks' invasive weeds? There's an app for that

October 21, 2009 |  3:58 pm

What's Invasive iPhone picture Hikers, bikers and horseback riders enjoying the Santa Monica Mountains can now assist in mapping invasive weeds, thanks to a new smart-phone application developed to identify the locations of intruding plant species in the park.

The "What's Invasive!" application allows users to snap an image and map the location of encroaching weeds, which will help National Park Service staff identify where plants need to be removed and monitored in the park.

"When visitors launch the application on the phone, the information they collect is automatically submitted to the 'What's Invasive!' website," said Lauren Newman, external affairs manager for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. "NPS will rely on that website to get the information."

The six most common plants being targeted are Harding grass, perennial pepperweed, poison hemlock, Spanish broom, Terracina spurge and yellow starthistle.

Developed by the UCLA Center for Embedded Networked Sensing, the application will soon include other national park locations.

"It's great because the public can see the exact same data that the scientists will use, in real time," added Newman.

--Kelly Burgess

'What's Invasive!' iPhone image courtesy of UCLA Center for Embedded Network Sensing

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