Wednesday, 25 September 2013

iSpot in Wales

iSpot is the Open University’s award winning website which was launched in 2009 to help remedy the gap in wildlife ID skills using a unique combination of social networking, informal access to expertise and accredited learning opportunities. We would like to invite recorders in Wales and other wildlife enthusiasts to find out more about this unique resource and how it can work to support engagement in biodiversity and wildlife recording in Wales.

What can iSpot do for you, your local recording group or organisation?

Sharing of knowledge; the iSpot maps feature allows you to view observations in your area (or further afield) and keep an eye out for interesting sightings and potential new records. You can also provide identifications, help others to learn and engage with local users.

Badges; your group representatives can be badged with your logo, and every time they add anything to iSpot the badge appears and links back to your website, putting local iSpot users directly in touch with the activities of your organisation.  We know that the badges can provide significant traffic back to recording group websites. Over 90 schemes and societies are registered. To see who, have a look here.

As of September 2013 iSpot has 28,000 registered users and over 213,000 wildlife observations (across UK) have been made to date.

Clare Flynn, iSpot Biodiversity Mentor for Wales
Learning and engagement; as iSpot’s Biodiversity Mentor for Wales, I am able to support your organisation in using iSpot as a tool for engagement in identification, both for new recruits or for more knowledgeable volunteer groups I can deliver talks, workshops, attend events or provide online support. We can also support a particular survey or project by providing a forum for publicity, communication and a follow up support system for participants and their observations.

Data; although iSpot is primarily an identification tool, observations made on iSpot do form biological records, which can make a valuable contribution to recording schemes.

iSpot for mobile; we now have an updated iSpot app for Android, allowing you to upload observations from your mobile device and have access to the iSpot online community whilst in the field. Click here for more information.

iSpot keys; these are a novel approach based on Bayesian statistics and are available for mobile. New keys can be developed by users and currently range across a variety of taxonomic groups, covering a range of complexity, from keys aimed at beginners to those only braved by the experts – have a look here.

How else can we help?

We are constantly looking at new ways in which iSpot can be utilised by expert schemes, societies and local groups and individuals. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any of the above; we’d really like to increase our support of and engagement with the biodiversity community, at all levels, across Wales.

Clare Flynn
iSpot Biodiversity Mentor for Wales

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