crowds identifying birds

From: Simon St. Laurent

I know a few folks here have been interested in apps around bird identification, and this seems to combine a pile of our technical interests as well.

“The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (CLO) is creating a new type of interactive, question-driven, online bird-identification tool called “Merlin,” along with associated games, social networking tools, and other media. Unlike existing bird-identification guides, which are based on traditional taxonomic keys written by scientists, Merlin uses machine learning algorithms and crowd-sourced data (information provided by thousands of people) to identify birds and improve Merlin’s performance with each interaction. The tool will help more than twelve million people a year identify birds and participate in a collective effort to help others….

Once developed, Merlin can be modified to identify plants, rocks, and other animals. Merlin will promote growth of citizen science projects which depend on the ability of participants to identify a wide range of organisms.”

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