Smartphone app now available to boost invasive species data collection

Apr 20, 2012 By Charles Schweik
Smartphone app now available to boost invasive species data collection

The new smartphone app for the Outsmart Invasive Species Project that lets people learn about, identify and report invasive species using an iPhone or Android is now available for free through iTunes and Google Play.

Thanks to a new collaboration between the Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), efforts to combat potentially devastating species are gaining momentum. Now anyone with a smartphone or a digital camera can help scientists collect valuable data about throughout Massachusetts.

Charles Schweik, associate professor of public policy and environmental conservation at UMass Amherst, and Jennifer Fish, director of DCR’s Service Forestry program in Amherst, have received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to enlist the help of "citizen scientists" to map invasive species using technology.

"There are already organizations throughout the commonwealth actively working to identify and eradicate harmful bugs and plants. What we’re trying to do is complement their efforts by allowing Massachusetts residents to communicate directly with these groups about what they see, said Schweik." The Outsmart Project is already working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Sudbury-Assabet-Concord River Watershed Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, the Westfield Invasive Species Partnership and the Trustees of Reservations.

Explore further: Cuban, US scientists bond over big sharks

More information: The project website www.masswoods.net/outsmart

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