1 Tahrcountry Musings: Nature apps - The potential is not fully exploited

Monday, June 06, 2016

Nature apps - The potential is not fully exploited

Nature apps have the power to harness cloud computing, social networking, and crowdsourcing. I believe we have not fully leveraged the potential of Nature apps for conservation. Jepson and Ladle, the authors of the paper Nature apps: Waiting for the revolution say they have the potential to transform how humans interact with nature, cause a step change in the quantity and resolution of biodiversity data, democratize access to environmental knowledge, and reinvigorate ways of enjoying nature.  They conducted an automated search of the Google Play Store using 96 nature-related terms. This returned data on 36304 apps, of which 6301 were nature-themed. They found that few of these fully exploit the full range of capabilities inherent in the technology and/or have successfully captured the public imagination. The researchers emphasize that such breakthroughs will only be achieved by increasing the frequency and quality of collaboration between environmental scientists, information engineers, computer scientists, and interested public. My own experience with the Nilgiri tahr app that I developed, fully subscribe to the views of the researchers.

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