Identify plants, birds and animals with your smartphone camera

Warmer weather means we’ll be htting the road in our RVs and using the cameras on our smartphones to take plenty of pics of things like beaches, sunsets, parades, and more.

But did you know that those cameras can be used to help you learn about the world around you? Here are three apps that will do just that that I featured in a recent NBC-TV “PC Mike” report:

PlantSnap lets you instantly identify plants of all kinds: flowers, trees and much more, simply by taking a picture of the plant. The developers claim the app is able to recognize 90 percent of all plant species on the planet, with hundreds of thousands in its database. The app is $3.99 for iOS and Android.

Merlin Bird ID is specific to birds. Take a photo and Merlin’s powerful searching capabilities will suggest an identification almost instantly. You can also use the app’s question-and-answer function to identify the bird if you can’t get a shot of the bird fast enough. The app is free for iOS and Android.





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The app called iNaturalist allows you to learn about the plants, insects and animals, specifically around you. Take a picture of the plant, insect, or animal and a community of more than 400,000 scientists and naturalists can help users learn about the world around them. The app is free for iOS and Android.