Multilingual Whale Sighting App Makes Citizens into Scientists
An app developed by ArcGIS allows environmental stewards and researchers to create a survey that they can share with local tour guides, allowing them to contribute to whale tracking and data collection. The app, called Survey123 Connect, is programmable and can be customized to the local needs and researchers’ goals.
It was developed for use in the Marino Ballena National Park, near Bahía Ballena (Bay of Whales) in Costa Rica, named after the humpback whales that migrate there each year to breed. These majestic mammals are vital to the community of Bahía Ballena, as many residents work as guides for whale-watching tours and dolphin encounters. However, in the last few years, residents and tour operators have noticed a drop in the number of whales seen along the coast.
The app helps users develop and publish a data-collection form that tour guides and boat captains can use to collect information about the type, number, and characteristics of marine species that they encounter. Earlier similar surveys often relied on pen-and-paper forms, which were less efficient and error-prone. The survey supports multiple languages and several guides, and captains can access it from their phones. Survey results can be added to a web map and analyzed to discern patterns in whale sightings.
Source: Learn ArcGIS