Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

iPhone App Will Help Rescue Oiled Gulf Coast Wildlife

16.06.2010
Starting today, iPhone users who come upon oiled birds and other wildlife in the Gulf Coast region can immediately transmit the location and a photo to animal rescue networks using a free new iPhone app, MoGO, for Mobile Gulf Observatory. It was developed by four University of Massachusetts Amherst researchers to make it easier for the public to help save wildlife exposed to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

With support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the UMass Amherst researchers hope the MoGO app will draw on the large network of “citizen scientists” who are as heartbroken as they are to witness the disaster for marine life and who are actively looking for ways to help save wildlife along the 14,000 miles of northern Gulf coastline.

Although rescue networks are in place and busy saving stranded wildlife, the task is enormous and trained staff too few. They just don’t have the people-power to cover all the territory from Louisiana to Florida. With over 400 wildlife species and 35 national wildlife refuges at risk, the Gulf is in crisis from the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

“That’s where citizen science comes in,” says UMass Amherst wildlife biologist Curt Griffin. As he explains, “The new app allows anyone who finds an oiled animal to be linked automatically by the phone to the Wildlife Hotline and also to contribute photos of the stranded animal and its GPS location coordinates to a database here on campus.”

Each report will alert wildlife stranding networks to deploy experts to rescue live animals for clean-up and medical treatment. Photos of oiled wildlife plus the GPS location will also be uploaded to MoGO’s comprehensive database for review by wildlife and fisheries experts using a Web browser. Users are also encouraged to upload their photos of dead marine and coastal wildlife, tar balls on beaches, oil slicks on water and oiled coastal habitats to the MoGO database.

The idea for the new app came to Charlie Schweik, associate director of the National Center for Digital Government, as he listened to yet another depressing story about the Gulf oil spill. Already working on invasive species mapping with computer scientist Deepak Ganesan, an expert in mobile phone and sensor systems, Schweik thought that experience might prove useful for inventorying damage in the Gulf. Smartphones such as the iPhone have several sensors including camera, GPS, audio and video, which can provide valuable data for such an application.

Schweik also turned to Griffin and Andy Danylchuk, a fisheries ecologist, his colleagues in UMass Amherst’s natural resources conservation department, to connect to the wildlife and fisheries community. Griffin and Danylchuk agreed that a mobile phone app in the hands of an army of “citizen scientists” would enhance recovery efforts by wildlife stranding networks. It could also increase the efficiency of state and federal efforts to monitor, assess and respond to the damage caused by the spill and engage the public to partner with natural resources agencies and researchers.

As Danylchuk points out, “The MoGO public database will help guide restoration efforts of vital coastal and marine habitats, and be used by scientists world-wide to assess the ecological impacts of the spill on the Gulf. The public database also allows scientists outside the Gulf region to participate in the assessment.”

The app takes advantage of “mobile crowdsourcing,” that is, the power of smart personal mobile devices to provide thousands of eyes and ears on the ground. Ganesan’s research group has designed a software framework called “mCrowd,” which simplifies the usual weeks- to months-long process of developing a new mobile crowdsourcing app. “It provides easy-to-use templates that can be tailored to a new application,” Ganesan explains. His mCrowd technology allowed the UMass Amherst team to create the MoGO app and infrastructure in a little more than a week.

Whether the project succeeds now rests on how well the word gets out to the public in the Gulf region, the researchers note. “Any person, on land or at sea, wishing to use the free app for their iPhone can go to www.savegulfwildlife.org for more information on how to get it on their iPhone,” Schweik says.

Curt Griffin | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.umass.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht NASA CubeSat to test miniaturized weather satellite technology
10.11.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht New approach uses light instead of robots to assemble electronic components
08.11.2017 | The Optical Society

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>