During the New Year break we have trained a fourth generation of the COMECO classifier with 1.17 Mio images of 2’533 species. In the image database we now also include 9’200 images of 265 hard-to-identify species made by the COMECO team, 57’471 images submitted to Info Flora via FlorApp and 158’226 additional GBIF images available since August 2021.
These additional images resulted in numerous new species included that are rather difficult to identify, such as grasses from the genus Festuca. We therefore expected a somewhat lower overall accuracy of the classifier as compared to the last generation. Anyhow, the classifier has reached a similar identification accuracy as before and correctly identifies 73.0% of test images, while for 90.9% of the test images the correct species is found within the five top hits. From these results we conclude that the many additional images considerably improved the identification accuracy.
The inclusion of locality information increased the identification accuracy by a similar margin as in previous generations to 77.3% and 92.8%, respectively. An updated overview over the classification accuracies on the species-level is provided in this document.
In the coming months, we primarily work on the detailed manual selection of test images. With this selection, we will also be able to test what type of images (e.g. vegetative parts, flowers, fruits) yield most accurate identifications.
During the field season 2021, the COMECO team has captured thousands of images for roughly 300 species on its priority list. This encourages us for the upcoming field season to cover many of the remaining priority species. Still, we rely on expert contributions for the more difficult genera. Therefore, we would like to request botanists to submit more images from their own databases. High priority taxa for example are species from Poales, Apiaceae and Asteraceae as well as from the genera Alchemilla, Campanula, Euphorbia, Euphrasia, Gentiana, Ranunculus, Salix and Saxifraga.
Further information on priority species and on what to photograph can be found in section «Supporting the project». Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or images via email: luciennec.dewitte_at_wsl.ch
To satisfythe growing public interest in the COMECO project and to inform citizen scientists on how they can benefit and contribute, we offer public presentations on the project and public excursions where we explain the tools needed for submitting good plant observations and give advice on how to take good plant images. There will be a free webinar by Info Flora on how to use «FlorApp» for field observations and uploading images on March 11th, and in the afternoon of April 1st we will go on excursion with the Botanical Society in Basel.