Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Thar be Dragons! (Oh, Actually it's a Newt) – via Herp Digest


Sacramento Bee, Calfornia) 11/5/12  via London (PRNewswire):  Froglife (http://froglife.org), the UK's dedicated amphibian and reptile charity has asked Incentivated to create "The Dragon Finder" - a smartphone app which will allow people to identify amphibian and reptile species within the UK, record their sightings and find out more about individual species.  

Based upon Froglife's existing database, the app - which will initially be available on iOS and Android devices, along with a mobile website - will provide users with useful species information, and allow people to submit a finding form which will include the name of the species (which can be automatically determined through a comparison page) location data and for app users to upload a photo of the animal, which will help researchers at the charity to re-confirm the identity of the animal identified. 

The app is part of a new Froglife Trust project called Dragon Finder which has been funded by a £472,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The project will enable the amphibian and reptile charity to help people find, identify and map these tiny dragons in London. The four and half year scheme will involve thousands of local people and see volunteers recording newts, lizards and snakes in the city, improving habitats for them and celebrating these secretive animals.

Being able to identify a little dragon at the point it has been spotted, rather than having to wait until you get back home to log on to a website, by which time the details may be a bit 'hazy' is seen as important in increasing the accuracy of our knowledge of the populations of these species..

Victoria Ogilvy, Froglife: "There are very few school children today who take part in species recording. We believe providing access through the use of new technologies will encourage more young people to take part, which is vital for maintaining a population of recorders throughout the generations. By using mobile technology people are more likely to upload their data because this can be done on the spot - even in remote areas - and mobile location technology, such as GPS, can allow highly accurate mapping of sightings as well."

Jason Cross, Marketing Director, Incentivated: "This is a great way for a small charity to use mobile as a way of connecting and engaging with younger people. By creating a service that takes advantage of the inherent strengths of mobile, this is a clear example of using Lottery funding to provide a service that supports the core needs of the charity, rather than creating an app for the sake of having an app.

The fact that it's always on you, has accurate location technology, and can access and bring to life complicated information for people of all ages in a simple way, allows mobile to be a useful tool as we increase our overall knowledge about the UK's native wildlife."

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