UAB scientists and citizens can identify Barcelona's allergy-causing plants with the new Plant*tes app


The UAB Point of Information on Aerobiology (PIA) will present its new Plant*tes app in Barcelona as part of the BArcelona City Council's project entitled "Ciència Ciutadana als barris". The app aims to inform on the existence of allergy-causing plants in urban areas.


On 11 May, the Guinardó Civic Centre played host to a conference entitled "Flora urbana i al·lèrgies" (Urban Plants and Allergies), offered by Dr Concepción De Linares, lecturer in Botanics at the UAB, in which she spoke on the most allergenic plants and also presented the new mobile application.

On 13 May, scientists participated in an outing in which citizens were to contribute to research in this sector by creating a map of allergy-causing plants and their state of bloom in the Guinardó neighbourhood. The Plant*tes application is a citizen science project which aims to inform on the existence of allergy-causing plants located in urban areas and their phenological state. Created in collaboration with the UAB Computer Vision Centre and the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA-UAB), the main objective of the application is to reach a better understanding of the relationship between the environment and allergies, and contribute to improving the quality of life suffering from allergies.

Plant*tes shows users images of some of the most important allergy-causing plants, and offers information on what their flowers and fruits look like. The system permits users to signal their location on a map (geolocation), show the plant they are looking at and whether it is forming flowers, has them closed or open, or if it is already producing fruits. This information can be viewed by other users and can help them decide on the best route to take in order to avoid coming close to those plants which cause them allergies.

The information is dynamic and changes from day to day, exactly as plants do. The application was created in collaboration with students of the master's degree in design from the Barcelona School of Design, and aims to get people involved in helping to create a map of possible allergy-causing plants in different cities and towns. The Plant*tes application can be downloaded for now in its Beta version through a QR code. The creators hope the initiative will be of interest to the public in general and would also like to see it become a work tool in schools, civic centres and other entities so that everyone can collaborate and promote its use. With the collaboration of people all around, the information gathered on the existence and state of plants surrounding us will be in real time. The information will accompany that which is offered by the PIA, more detailed and of much use to those suffering from allergies.


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