Last week I read a story about eNatureWatch, a new app produced by the UK’s Canal & River Trust. The app lets people who spend time on canals and inland waterways help scientists measure the health of habitats in these vital wildlife corridors. By answering a series of questions and “sketching” the cross section of canal or river habitat being surveyed, app users help ecologists build a map of information about wetland habitats. The app also functions as a wildlife guide for common species and lets users catalog the plants and animal species they see.
I was intrigued by the idea of using a smartphone to document biodiversity along waterways and near shore. After all, if you’re already out on the water, why not share your observations?
So I went to the app store to try and find if there was anything similar available for U.S. river or coastal habitats. While I didn’t find anything specific to U.S. waterways, I did find an app called Project Noah, which stands for Networked Organisms And Habitats. Like eNatureWatch, the Project Noah app also lets users catalog their wildlife sightings and has a location-based field guide. In addition, it connects users to “field missions” designed to gather data for research projects organized by labs and environmental groups. Missions can range from photographing squirrels, to tracking invasive species.
Are any of you birders? Or do you keep note of the wildlife you see in the water or on shore? Would the digital approach work for you? If you’ve ever used an app such as Project Noah, I’d love to hear from you!
As a bonus to this post, once I started searching the iTunes app store, I fell down the rabbit hole looking for apps that might intrigue WorkBoat readers. A few apps that caught my eye include:
An app that provides general information about almost all LNG vessels in operation
An app that lets you browse photos, watch videos and see specs of tug-style cruisers
Yes, it’s a game, but it’s your chance to be a harbor master in a busy harbor. Direct boats into the docks, watch them unload their cargo and direct them off the screen without letting them crash.
Are there any apps that you recommend? Drop me a line.