In Belagavi, codes are for trees too

In Belagavi, codes are for trees too

Visit ‘treesofgss.github.io’ for details of the trees.

The Govindram Seksaria Science (GSS) College in Belagavi has a botanical garden and a green campus spread over 34 acres. Apart from its 110 species of flora, some tree species there are endemic to the Western Ghats.

However, not everyone who visits the campus understands the value or knows the details of the trees. So, the PG Botany Department, along with Makerspace, has come up with a tech-based educative project, ‘Trees of GSS’.

As a result, the trees are now adorned with QR codes. The laminated codes are strung around the trunks at about 1.5 metre above the ground to cause no damage to the trees.  

The route

On scanning the code, a visitor is taken to an online repository of the trees’ details like the botanical name, common name, habitat, distribution, morphology, leaf, inflorescence, flowering/fruiting season, fruit, seed, propagation, uses and ecological importance, along with pictures.

While most of the details are in English, the names of the trees carry Kannada, Hindi and Marathi names, too. “Till now, over 100 tree species have been identified and over 750 plants/trees have been tagged with QR codes on the campus. Initially, a scientific
assessment of the tree species grown on the campus was done by a group of six to eight MSc Botany students. It took us nearly two months to identify and collect data under Prof B L Majukar’s guidance,” says Botany professor Rahul Prabhukhanolkar.

“Later, the entire database was made available online. We want to add more species to the repository,” he adds. 

Green cover

This QR code system could extend to cover avenue trees, public gardens, the heritage park at Vaccine Depot, cantonment area and Forest Biodiversity Park of the city as part of the smart infrastructure under the first phase of Smart City Mission.

Physics professor Praveen Patil, who co-ordinated the project, says the purpose is to create a user-friendly online repository for tree identification using open-source smart technology.

“We had an idea for QR-coded museums and lab instruments. During our visits to the botanical garden in the campus, we thought of implementing the idea in our garden first. We then collaborated with the Botany department,” he details.

There is a plan to launch a dedicated Android app for this project in two months’ time. An integration of audio files to take the project to the visually-impiared is in the pipeline, so is a tech aid to access the tree details without the internet.

Visit ‘treesofgss.github.io’ for details of the trees. 

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