Can Your Phone Identify A Rock?

With the growth of the hobby of rockhounding, all kinds of things have been changing. New things, such as these apps to help people in rock and mineral identification, are growing both in the number of apps that pretty much are clones of each other, the number of downloads they are getting, and how often I have been seeing people posting screenshots of these app and treating what it says as if it’s 100% correct.

So let’s put it to the test!

In the below video we tested 5 rocks and you can see the results for yourself.

After producing this video I felt like maybe I should give this app another shot with 10 more rocks to see what the rate of accuracy is with those.

This is going to be the line up of rocks that we will testing here. Side by side we can compare the photo I took in the app along with the results and at the end we will see what the accuracy rate is.

1. Seam Agate (Grave Yard Point)
2. Noble Serpentine (Wild Turkey Mine)
3. Red Jasper
4. Red Marble with Magnesite crystals
5. Basalt Splatter
6. Triple Thunderegg (Richardsons)
7. Common Opal
8. Red Dendritic Agate (Brian Head Utah)
9. Basalt with pockets of zeolite
10. Petrified wood.

Now lets look at what it has to say about these rocks.

On the left is the image I took and the right are the results from the app

After testing another 10 rocks it was only able to identify 1 out of the 10 rocks tested. It did manage to accurately identify the Petrified Wood.

With a 10% accuracy rate I would really discourage anyone from using these type of apps that solely rely on image comparison algorithms to do the identification.

The reality of the situation is that rock and mineral identification can really be difficult and complex at times and to think that it could be accomplished by an app is simply asking too much.