The website was developed by Theivaprakasham Hari from Vadavalli, who is doing an MTech in Data Science at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. “I wanted to develop an easy butterfly identification application after I graduated from Class XII in 2012. I used to take part in butterfly migrations. Back then we didn’t even have a database of butterflies, and we referred to Kerala’s database, expensive books, and depending on that, experts. I wanted that make it easier for ordinary people to identify themselves, “Theivaprakasham, who is also Secretary of the Nature and Butterfly Society (TNBS), told TOI.
It took him seven years to collect photos of different types of butterflies and operate the website with artificial intelligence (AI). “I took up to 1.5 lakh photos of butterflies based on parameters such as life stages and seasonal shapes from different angles. I also took almost 25,000 photos of butterfly enthusiasts. The photos were used to train the AI. I have the website last started November ”
The AI can identify 340 butterfly species in the south of the country with an accuracy of 95%.
Theivaprakasham is currently developing an app that can also be used to identify butterflies in offline mode. “The application will be launched for Android and iOS within a few months. It contains details such as description, host plant and habitats.”
The website has been used for several surveys, including those conducted in collaboration with the Sathyamangalam Forest Agency. “After the website launched, people contributed over 500 photos of butterflies. I need more photos to increase accuracy,” added Theivaprakasham.