The scarcity of diagnosticians in the field and the implementation of the Ecophyto2 programme—aimed at reducing the use of pesticides—inspired Dominique Blancard, from the Vineyard Health & Agroecology Unit, to take advantage of new information and communication technologies in order to create this web portal and the associated mobile applications, which have been available, for free, since 2011. At the moment, more than twenty plant health apps published by INRAE are available to download. Most notably, a series of apps dedicated to vegetable crops has been developed and published with the help of the GIS PIClég initiative. But what do these apps actually do?
Valuable input, from the field to the lab
According to Jonathan Gaudin, the apps have a wide variety of uses: from providing information and helping diagnose—by comparing images to determine if a plant is sick—to proposing alternative pest control methods such as biocontrol, declaring the start of an epidemic or reporting an emerging disease. Moreover, these web and mobile applications, published under the name Di@gnoplant, provide continuous and comprehensive plant health services, completely free, from the field to the lab and vice versa.
Improving the circulation of information
Diagnostic advice, epidemiological surveillance, extensive biovigilance, dissemination of alternative protection methods, citizen science, etc. are some of the domains targeted by the applications. Initially, the pilot project focused only on tobacco, but it was later extended to other crops, such as tomato, lettuce, courgette, etc. These apps, which are available on the App Store and Google Play, allow users to upload (via Vigipl@nt) and download (via Di@gnoplant) information. They provide access to data and images, while encouraging participatory research . What is the strong suit of these applications? For Gaudin, it’s their use of images and interactivity. The user can make his or her own diagnosis thanks to a tool that compares thousands of images and refers them directly to the appropriate advice card: symptomatology, pest biology, methods of control, etc.
Over the past three years, more than 650,000 people have used these applications.
The associated mobile applications have been downloaded more than 48,000 times.
The database currently contains over 65,000 images.