Arxiu d'etiquetes: citizen science

More essential mobile apps about nature

After the first celebrated post 18 essential mobile applications for field trips, here you have the second one with 16 more apps. We have put more emphasis on those dedicated to hiking and routes. Whether you own an Android terminal or an iPhone, here you will find the application that best fits your needs in your nature trips.

MAPS AND GPS

It is imperative not to be disoriented during a mountain trip. In addition to the basic precautions you should know before you leave, a good maps application becomes necessary… as well as one or two extra batteries!

ORUXMAPS – MOTIONX GPS

Just for Android, OruxMaps is a GPS tracker, allowing us to create our tracks and follow them on the map. We will be able to share our position with our colleagues and you’ll see their position too.

The app also allows us to download tracks created by other users from different sites such as Wikiloc and a lot of more pages that we can find in the developer’s website. Then we can save them in our phone and use the app offline.

oruxmaps

It can also be synchronized with external devices such as bluetooth GPS  or pulsometers like Polar, Zephy… and we can create and save points of interest.

The application is free and to get the latest version or an earlier version you can download it from the official site. Currently on Google Play we find the donation version (3.03 euros).

The alternative for iPhone is MotionX GPS (1,99 euros), with features quite similar to OruxMaps.

NATURAPPS

Naturapss offers us hiking trails in Spain adapted to our needs and level. You can search for routes by length, difficulty and type of route. In addition you can search by location and keywords. Because it works offline we will not have to worry about mobile coverage. You can also include your routes and sponsor them to boost your territory. It’s free and its unlimited Pro version costs 11 euros.

It was awarded as the best active tourism app in FITUR 2014 and was a finalist for the 2014 WSA-M World Contest.

ALPIFY

Alpify is a GPS locator for emergencies that sends our position to our friends and relatives if we are in a trip in the mountains (or we are going to travel, or to a party, or to locate elderly people or children…) and warns them if we have arrived to our destination. It consists of an emergency button that immediately notifies the emergency services in case of an accident. It operates in Spain, France, Venezuela and Chile.

SPAIN PEAKS

Simple but effective free application to know the name of any mountain just by pointing our mobile at it. No internet connection required. It also gives us information on shelters, bivouacs, fountains and more points of interest in Spain for a donation of 60 cents.

You may also be interested in other applications with the same feature which we discussed in a previous article, also for non-Spanish peaks.

STAR CHART

If you spend the night in the countryside or if you live in it, you need another map, a map of the sky. Of all the star maps we have tested (including Google Sky Maps), we prefer definitely Star Chart. It is free (if you want to observe more objects you’ll have to pay) and even has a version for virtual reality glasses (VR).

Simply point your device to the sky to recognize stars, constellations, planets, galaxies, meteor showers, artificial satellites… If you click on it you’ll get a multitude of astronomical data such as distance to Earth, size, etc.

It also has other interesting feature such as tours, to make virtual trips to any point in the Solar System.

BIODIVERSITY

NATUSFERA

Natusfera Is an application adapted from iNaturalist (we review it here) developed by CREAF (Ecological and Forestry Applications Research Centre).

It is a project of citizen science that allows us to:

  • Save and share your observations in nature.
  • Connect with other users to help you identify and expand your knowledge
  • Help scientists obtain data on the distribution of species
  • Contribute to existing projects or create your own projects

PALEONTOLOGY

FOSSILME

FossilMe allows you to identify a fossil correctly and classify it in your collection. The information is stored in the cloud, so you will never lose it. You can geolocate the fossils that you find and visualize them in an interactive world map.

Like other applications, FossilMe is also a social network where you can share your fossils and ask other users for help, as well as keep up-to-date on news related to paleontology. The section “Market” allows to exchange, sell or buy fossils. At the moment it is only available for Android but the iOS version is expected soon.

PALEONTOLOGAS

A paleontological encyclopedia in your pocket developed by a biology student, with information on 96 species of plants and animals.

The application is structured by geological periods, each with its interactive paleogeographic map, information on the most important events, chronology on the evolution of life, etc. It also has a quiz with 325 questions to test your knowledge. The application is in English and Lithuanian and works totally offline.

If you want to learn more about fossils you can visit Knowing fossils and their age.

ZOOLOGY

AUDUBON FIELD GUIDES

the National Audubon Society is an American NGO dedicated to the conservation of nature, one of the oldest in the world.

Its best-known app is the North American Bird Field Guide. You can identify more than 800 species of birds and get information about their appearance, call, maps with migratory routes… eBird functionality locates birds seen near you.

It also exists a version about California birds y and owls.

Audobon has field guides of almost any subject: mammals, fish, insects, spiders, reptiles, butterflies, mushrooms, flowers, trees, African wildlife… take a look at the full list here.

iBIRD

If you are a more advanced bird watcher or a professional ornithologist in North America or Hawaii, the iBird applications are the ones you are looking for. You’ll have to pay for them, but they offer a multitude of options that will allow you to save your observations in great detail or to access to complete field guides.

Do you own Google Glasses? With the app Glass Birds you only have to look at the bird, ask them to recognize it and the information will appear on the screen.

Applications range from guides for beginners who watch birds in their garden, to pro, plus or ultimate guides, both for iOS, Android, Kindle or Windows 8.

MOSQUITO ALERT

Mosquito alert is a citizen science platform coordinated by CREAF with the support of “Obra Social la Caixa” to make research and and control mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as Dengue or Zika.

Through the app we can take a photo of tiger mosquitoes or yellow fever mosquitoes and send it. The data, once reviewed by experts, are placed on the map and help scientists to detect and control their spreading.

Mosquito Alert is recognized by the United Nations for being an example of a citizen science project that fights for human health globally.

BOTANY AND MYCOLOGY

LEAFSNAP

You see a tree, you take a picture of the leaf and you automatically get the identification of the species. This is what LeafSnap does: it analyzes the shape of the photographed leaf and compares it with the species database of North America (East) and Canada. There is also a UK version.

Thanks to the geolocation we can save the location of the tree, and in addition to the identification, it will give us information about the flowering season, photos of leaves, fruits and seeds, where it grows…

It is only available for iPhone. For a similar app for Android and iPhone, see Pl@ntnet.

NATUREMOBILE GUIDES

Like Audubon, NatureMobile offers us field guides on different topics, although here we find more variety on botany and mycology: fruits and berries, wild fruits and herbs, mushrooms, medicinal plants, trees, fruits and exotic vegetables.

On animals we can even find guides on breeds of dogs, cats, horses, birds and fish.

The guides are in English, French and/or German and they have a free Lite version and a Pro versions. They also include questionnaires to check our knowledge.

It is avaliable for Android and iPhone. Check the complete listing and download them from here.

ORCHIDS AND IBERIAN TREES

Two offline field guides from the same developer to identify orchids and native trees from the Iberian Peninsula, including Spain, Portugal, Andorra and the Balearic Islands. More information on species can be found on their website as well as a dichotomous identification key.

They cost 7-8 euros depending on the version for Android or iPhone.

Árboles ibéricos: Orquídeas ibéricas: 

If you want to find out more about orchids, don’t miss the post  Orchids: different colours and shapes for everyone.

Do you know more apps? Would you share them with us in the comments?

REFERENCES

  • Cover photo
  • The rest of photographs were obtained from the corresponding stores.

MIREIA QUEROL ALL YOU NEED IS BIOLOGY

18 essential mobile applications for field trips

Gone are the days when we had to carry guides and guides to enjoy identification of species in the sea or field. Despite the nostalgia of those printed guides, today, thanks to mobile applications, any nature lover can carry in a pocket all kind of information.

As a lover of nature or biology, do not miss these 18 applications to identify and learn from everything around you. Do you need more than 18? Don’t miss part two.

BIODIVERSITY AND MAPPING

MAP OF LIFE

We start with a highlight: this wonderful application lets you know what wildlife is around you anywhere in the world. Setting on a map our location, the app will indicate us  which species can be found in the area where we are classified by groups (birds, amphibians, insects, trees, plants, fish…) in a database of more than 900,000 species.

In addition to the description, pictures, etc, of the species, we can mark if we have done any sightings, helping to provide data on the frequency of appearance of the species and having a record of our  own observations.

We can also find species directly from the browser or search field.

Available in google play market Available an APP store

BIOGUIDE – FIELD GUIDE WORLD

Bioguide allows us to have in our Android mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, butterflies, moths, plants and mushrooms. When you open the app, it gives you the chance to choose which data download from a total of 100,000 photos and 1,000 sounds. This allows you to use them later offline in nature.

You can search by color, region, name, diet, type of flowering … Within the tab of each species, we will find all kinds of features such as habitat, conservation status, diet, locomotion, systematics, morphology and physiology, trails, similar species… a complete app to keep in mind.


BV MOBILE

This application allows us to upload photos of our observations (animals, plants, lichens or rocks) to a database of georeferenced photographs. The species will be identified and you’ll be able to save your picture with the correct name. We will also contribute to help in the understanding of biodiversity and conservation of the environment.

Available in google play market  Available an APP store

iNATURALIST

iNaturalist is another application that will allow us to raise our observations to the database Global Biodiversity Information Facility, to contribute to a better understanding of biodiversity providing data to scientists.

It is a citizen science project where you can start your own project or join one that has already started, contact the experts who identify the species you see and expand your knowledge exchanging experiences with other naturalists.

Available in google play market  Available an APP store

PEAKFINDER EARTH

How it is called the mountain in front of you? Just point your mobile towards it and you’ll know the name of the peak anywhere in the world, since its database has 250,000 references. The application has a cost of 3.39 € and works offline.

 peakfinderearth

 Available in google play market

GEODETIC POINTS

If you are looking for a free alternative,  Geodetic Points will inform you about the name, altitude and how far it is the peak are you looking at . It must be installed with the augmented reality app Layar and only reports on Spanish peaks.

Source

Available in google play market

BOTANY AND MICOLOGY

ARBOLAPP

This is a guide to wild trees of the Iberian Peninsula and Balearic Islands.

arbol capture app

In the guided search, you can describe as in a dichotomous key how the tree is until you reach its species. Then you’ll get a description of it, photographs and distribution. There is also the open search, where from the location, leaves, fruits, flowers and other features the app will guide you to the desired tree. It also has a glossary with more than 80 words and does not require internet connection to use it.

Disponible en google play market

Disponible an APP store

If you need a field guide to trees in Europe and North America, you can try iKnow Trees 2 LITE, with a database of more than 200 species (Android only).

Pl@ntNet

The “Shazam” of plants. Upload up to 4 photos of the plant you want to identify, indicate whether if it is a flower, fruit, stem… and the application will search among more than 4,000 species registered and show you what plant it is. If it is not in the database, you can register it for the rest of the community to identify it.

 Plantnet

 Available in google play market

 Available an APP store

FUNGIPEDIA

Application for identifying mushrooms with 250 species in its free version. In addition to information on the mushroom and possible toxicity of the species, in the thescription we will find the most common mistakes included, to avoid unnecessary collection of species allowing them to continue fulfilling their role in nature. The application allows working offline if you have previously downloaded the libraries with the data.

Source

In the Pro version (6.99 €), we can save the GPS location of the mushrooms that we have found. If a species is not referenced, we can add it to the database.
Available in google play market

ZOOLOGY

BIRDS OF SPAIN

If you love ornithology dot not miss this app developed by SEO Birdlife. It is divided into two sections:

  • The bird guide itself , with sheets of the 563 species of birds which are present or have been cited in Spain. In each sheet you will find the layout, drawings, photos, videos, songs and a brief description as well as the months of sighting.

  • Ornithological Itineraries: informs us of the areas of Spain where we can make our observations, with information about the ecological importance of the area and which birds can we find. Spain2 birds

    Available in google play market

    WATER BIRDS

    SEO Birdlife also has specific app Water birds to computerize census, identify wetlands closest to our location and view photos and current census of each wetland.

    Available in google play market Available an APP store

     WARBLTWIGLE AND MERLIN BIRD ID

    These three apps offer similar functions. We can consider Warbl the “Shazam” of birds. With just recording the song of a bird, the app will recognize it and it will give us information on the bird species without being connected to the network. Warbl can identify 220 UK birds. It has a cost of 5.29 €.

     warblr

    Available in google play market

    Disponible an APP store

    Field Guide birds Twigle (for iPhone) is another app that not only allows us to identify birds by their song, as Warbl, but allows  us to upload photos of any bird that we sighted and it will recognize the species from our image. It identifies species in North America, Ireland, UK and South Africa.

    Available an APP store

    If you do not have iPhone, Merlin Bird Id in its web version also allows you to recognize a photo from hundreds of species of birds in North America. It also has an application in Android and iOS for identifying birds from a few simple questions.

    INSECT ORDERS

    If you’re a fan of insects, with this application you can identify insect orders from Australia. If you do not live in Astralia, still it is a good way to learn to distinguish the characteristics that define each order, also present in your country.

     Available google play market  Available an APP store

    iFelix – WOLF

    The field notebooks by emblematic Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente revisited. If you’re a fan of wolves, with this app (€ 2.20) you will have illustrations, 3D animations, photographs, dynamic maps, sounds, utilities (camera geolocation sightings and others) and an area to practice field drawings . Ifelix wolf

    For the moment it is only available the notebook of the wolf, but they are preparing the notebooks of the imperial eagle and the Iberian lynx .

     Available in google play market Disponible an APP store

    ANIMALS TIME: ENCYCLOPEDIA

    Although the description of this application (available only in Android) indicates that it is aimed at children, the truth is that we will find a lot of information about hundreds of animal species. Curiosities, distribution, habitat, behavior, food …

    It also has specific sections for endangered and even extinct species.

     Available in google play market Available an APP store
    This is the selection of All You Need is  Biology of mobile apps touse in the field. In future articles we will complete the list with more applications like maps, compasses and other essential utilities for any naturalist. We eill also discover other applications related to biology.

    Do you know other applications to complete this list? Add it in the comments below!

    MIREIA QUEROL ALL YOU NEED IS BIOLOGY

    REFERENCES

    • Cover photo
    • All other photographs, unless otherwise indicated, obtained from the corresponding stores .

You can be a scientist too

The role of no-scientist people in science is being more and more common nowadays. Citizen science allows you to participate in so many scientific projects despite not being a professional. In this post, we will explain what is citizen science and a marine project in Spain.

WHAT IS CITIZEN SCIENCE?

Citizen Science is a new scientific culture. According to the Green Paper on Citizen Science, it consists on the engagement of general public in scientific research activities to answer real-world questions either with their intellectual effort or with their resources and tools.

In their voluntary involvement, participants get new learning and skills. Not only do participants provide researchers with experimental data and facilities, but also do they suggest new questions to be answered .

Citizen Science provides some benefits:

  • Brings results that are difficult to achieve in other ways.
  • The data gathering is much bigger.
  • The collection and analysis is more homogeneous.
  • Stimulates the participation and increase the interest of general public in science.

The fields with more projects are ecology, medicine, astronomy, psychology and genetics, among others.

HOW CAN YOU PARTICIPATE?

Participating in a citizen science project is easy. There are plenty of them, so it is easy to find some of your interest.

Depending on the project, voluntaries can participate in different ways:

  • Putting resources.
  • Collecting and analysing experimental data.
  • Participating in experimental games to analyse human behaviour, in physical spaces or in collective intelligence experiments.
Levels of Citizen Science (Picture: Povesham).
Levels of Citizen Science (Picture: Povesham).

THE ORIGINS OF CITIZEN SCIENCE

Citizen Science is nothing new. In fact, the curiosity and interest of people were the engine of science until 19th century. To give an example, amateur astronomers contributed in the discovery of so many stars and celestial bodies.

In the 1980s, the concept was used for the first time in the Cornell’s Laboratory of Ornithology. However, it has been in the last 5 years that this concept has been more used.

MARINE CITIZEN SCIENCE IN SPAIN: SEAWATCHERS

Seawatchers is a project of the Institut de Ciències del Mar (Institute of Marine Sciences, Barcelona) for those professional and amateur people who love the sea, dive, sail or practice water sports; with the general goal of understanding the current state of our seas and oceans.

Main page of Seawatchers website (Picture: Seawatchers).
Main page of Seawatchers website (Picture: Seawatchers).

In concrete, the purpose of this project is to understand the effects of global warming, pollution, biodiversity changes, invasions of alien species and overfishing in marine ecosystems.

To achieve this goal, Seawatchers offer 9 projects:

  1. Warning corals: If you dive, you can contribute in this project by informing about geographic location and depth of coral species in the Mediterranean and their conservation status, such as the emblematic and endemic red coral (Corallium rubrum). Nowadays, this project has more than 270 records. Do you want to contribute too?
  2. Invasive fishes: With the goal of providing an early detection of marine invasive species, you can be helpful in this project by reporting the presence of 10 alien species in the Mediterranean sea. You will have to provide information on abundance, size, depth, location and the species. An example of this exotic species is the silverstripe blaasop (Lagocephalus sceleratus). However, if you consider some new invaders, you can provide a picture to check it. Help scientist protect our seas by informing of these alien species!
  3. Jellyfish alert: Do you want to help oceanographers with the monitoring of the impacts of these primitive living animals  and their effects in coastal areas? You can contribute in this project reporting the presence of jellyfishes in the beaches. Read our guide to recognise some of them!
  4. Decapod crustaceans: With more than 950 records, this project expects to gather data on the occurrence of decapod crustaceans (such as crabs, shrimps, prawns…) in order to obtain distribution maps for each species. What can you do? Inform about the presence of different species during your shore walks and dives.
  5. Mediterranean fishes: This project hopes to discover the fish biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea. It is interested in common species, indicators of climate change (for example Coris julis and Thalassoma pavo) and rare species. You can report your fish records of your divings and if you have noticed changes in their presence.
  6. Sea birds: If you are a bird lover, you can contribute in this project by reporting which species have you seen, when, where and how many individuals.
  7. Invasive flora: If you want to increase the number of records in this project, which hope to get information about distribution of marine invasive flora, the habitats where they are present and their interaction with other species, you just have to sign up in the Seawatchers website. You have to report date, site, depth and provide a picture.
  8. Plastic 0: As we explained in this article, the amount of plastic garbage in the ocean is huge. For this reason, you can share your plastic findings in this project: where you observed it and how did you found it. Nowadays, there are only 260 records. Help them!
  9. Sea bottom garbage: Do you want to help to discover the effects of marine debris on benthic ecosystems? Then, this is your project. Send information on debris that you find at the sea bottom (where and its type).

If you want to collaborate in this citizen science project, you can sign up here: SIGN UP. The best part is that you can contribute in any of these 9 projects. So, jump to the water and report your findings! If you want more information about this project, vist the website: Seawatchers.

Eugenio Fernández, owner of Blog Nasua, recommended us the platform Zooniverse, in which you can find so many citizen science projects. Find yours!

REFERENCES

Difusió-anglès