GrowApp allows you to make animations of trees, gardens and landscapes by taking pictures with your smartphone. The app directly transforms these pictures in a time lapse movie that shows changes over the seasons and even over the years.
Language: English / Dutch
Runs offline: no
Last update: Android 20/03/2017 (version varies according to the device) – iOS 28/03/2017 (v. 1.0)
The main objective of GrowApp is the study of the phenology, scientific discipline already described in the analysis of the Fenodato app. This app can be considered as innovative because, through images and time lapses, allows to record the life cycle of plants throughout the seasons. Both the photos and videos you create are geolocated on a map that loads when you start the application.
The application includes the following options in its version for mobile devices, accessible from the side menu:
- Register account, option that allows to receive via email updates on the research campaigns organized with GrowApp.
- Manage photos, from where each user can erase or rotate the images that he has uploaded.
- Start of season, layer to show when the vegetation season begins on the basis of an NDVI index.
- Vegetation trend, that shows how much vegetation has changed since last year.
- Yesterday’s temperature, layer that displays the surface temperature for the previous day in the areas where this information is available.
Users of the app have two possibilities to contribute with new content anonymously (options only available for mobile versions):
- Take photos through GrowApp of trees, gardens or landscapes, tag and upload them to the system.
- Add new resources to previously registered locations that already have images or videos. To facilitate the overlap of images and to be able to appreciate the changes more accurately, the original photograph is superimposed on the screen as a reference. Once there are two or more images for the same location, the application automatically generates a time lapse.
Also and in order to homogenize the observations, a particular attention is being paid to six tree species: oak, hazel, beech, birch, sour cherry and small-leaved linden.
With regard to the web version, this includes as utility the possibility of establishing filters to facilitate the search of videos and specific images and labels. This web version is recommended for the search of the different multimedia resources.
Images: Screenshots 10/04/2017. ©GrowApp
The phenology, as a science responsible for studying the response of nature to the seasons, is a perfect indicator to assess the impact of climate change. As GrowApp’s own team explains in its press release, since 1982, «the flowering of 17 spring plants in Europe, for example, advanced with two weeks on average» as a result of the increase in temperature in Europe (1.5 ° C with respect to the pre-industrial levels), which can be interpreted as an unequivocal sign of the change that is taking place.
In this sense and although the information on the greenness compiled by space satellites is very important, it is still necessary to complement these observations with field data, activity in which the citizen science and applications like GrowApp take a special meaning allowing to share the locally changes in the flowering process. The automatic creation of the time lapses also supposes an interesting resource that allows to visualize in a simple way the pass of the seasons of the year and that it could be of special value for children in school age (in fact, one of the aims of the project is to involve children in research activities about climate change). However, it is missing a way to download or share these videos in social networks, a possibility that could help spread the message about global temperature increase. Also, it would be interesting that the mobile version also incorporated a small search engine, at least to allow filter out images from videos, as well as a more detailed explanation of some of the layers of information included.