New app puts botanical guide at your fingertips

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 April, 2012, 12:00am


Nature lovers will be able to find and identify trees in country parks more easily with a mobile application launched by the government.

The app, developed by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, features 96 trees and other plant species planted along Hong Kong's 16 'tree walks'. It also shows which species are flowering in a particular month and where they can be found.

Country parks ranger services officer Dr Judy Wan Hon-chi said the department hoped this 'country park tree walks' app would make outings more interesting and promote tree conservation.

'People can do research before walking the trails, or they may decide to go and visit a tree after learning about it from the app,' she said.

Developed after a year of information gathering and use of data from the department's plant library, the app includes photographs of the trees' appearance, leaves, flower and fruit and other botanical information. Using GPS, the app tells users whether any of the trees are within a 400-metre radius. About 200 locations have so far been recorded.

The app also includes other features such as maps, transport guides to the tree walks, and weather information.

The free app is available for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Mobile 7 systems and mobile websites, with English and Chinese versions.

It is the fourth mobile app launched by the department. The previous ones provided information on hiking trails, geoparks and the wetland park.

The 16 tree walks in Hong Kong were set up by the conservation department in 1995 in country parks to educate the public on trees and conservation with display boards introducing different types. It decided to make that information available via the app. It has also been training volunteer guides for the walks.

Meanwhile, the department will be holding four tree-planting sessions in country parks for the public this month and next. Seedlings and planting tools will be provided on a first come, first served basis.