Way back in 2011 we took at a new app that helps to identify the world around, back then it was to help the California redwoods. That app is iNaturalist and it’s had a great decade plus of identifying all sorts of plants and animals. The app, which has a very active and committed user based has been so successful that species that had never been seen before have now been found. The ap started as a research project and will now live on as a nonprofit thanks to a generous donation. Here’s to studying the world through citizen science!
Data from iNaturalist have been used in more than 4,000 research publications, and users have identified new species through browsing its observations. “We have a better understanding of current biodiversity than we have ever had because of iNaturalist—hands down,” says Young. In total, more than 2.8 million observers have uploaded more than 150 million verifiable observations to iNaturalist, and in July, an average of 124 observations were uploaded per minute.
Every month, around 350,000 people record observations. But Loarie recalls a time when he considered 50 regular iNaturalist users a triumph. Like any critter on its site, iNaturalist has gone through a number of life stages.
Organizations that care about protecting the environment are always looking for ways to get more people helping them out and in some cases consumer technologies are the solution. Save the Redwoods is an organization in California that is asking people to use their iPhones to identify where every redwood tree is in the state. The information will then be mapped out on Google Earth – a great way of showing people the current state of the redwood forests.
Find a redwood tree in a park, in your own backyard, or in a botanical garden anywhere in the world. Then use the free Redwood WatchÂ iPhone application powered by iNaturalist or your own camera to take a photo of the tree andÂ submit it online.
“Citizen-science efforts like iNaturalist are rapidly emerging as rich sources of biogeographic information for alerting scientists where plants and animals are disappearing and where they persist,â€ said Scott R. Loarie, co-director ofÂ iNaturalist.org and a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science. â€œThese technologies are a real win-win for conservation because, in addition to generating urgently needed data, they get people outdoors and help them become more aware of the natural world.”
In collaboration with Google Earth Outreach, Redwood Watch also will include a tour and new 3D online model of the ancient forest to help people better understand, appreciate and connect with the wonder of the redwoods. A 2Â½-minute video,Â Finding the Redwood Forests of Tomorrow, tells the story of an ancient forest. The video was narrated byÂ Peter Coyote, actor and author ofÂ Sleeping Where I Fall. Save the Redwoods League partnered withÂ Google Earth Outreach to produce the new 3D Trees model ofJedediah Smith Redwoods State Park on Google Earth. Jedediah Smith Redwoods was selected for this project because it is one of the most pristine old-growth coast redwood forests in California. The 3D model allows Google Earth users to virtually walk and fly through an ancient redwood forest anytime anywhere.
Find out more at the Save the Redwoods website