Forest Mapper: Six Mistakes To Avoid

  1. Not being sure about the tree species. You should be 99% sure of your species ID before you take the pictures. If you are not sure, that’s ok, just find another tree. Mistakenly identified trees will mess up the training and the app won’t work well.
  2. Not recording the species if you are saving the photos to upload later. A few students were trying to identify their trees by looking at the pictures when they go back to the classroom. That won’t work: to human eyes many kinds of bark look similar. You must make the ID in the field, using the leaf guide first, and then record it. One way is take a notebook and write the IDs down in order, so you can match them to the photos. Of course, if you upload directly from a phone in the field, you don’t need to do this.
  3. Uploading the same images more than once. When you submit the upload form, you will know that it has worked because the form will refresh to its blank state, ready to receive more pictures. It can take a few seconds, especially if you are submitting images in the field from a phone. Please be patient. A few students kept hitting submit, and thus uploaded duplicates. This isn’t a disaster because we can filter out duplicates, but better avoided.
  4. Forgetting to select the species before submitting. The form’s default entry for species is “NO SPECIES SELECTED” and a few ended up in the database with that name, meaning that the student forget to select an actual species name. Again, not a disaster, but those obviously can’t count to any species totals.
  5. Standing too far back. The images should be of just the trunk, so the students are supposed to get close enough that the trunk just fills the whole field of view. (As an example, see the pictures in the guide.)
  6. Using landscape view. Phones should be in upright, ‘selfie’ orientation.