The PlantTracker project is a collaboration between the Environment Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency & Natural Resources Wales. It is part of the Nature Locator project which is a collection of projects crowd-sourcing data on biodiversity using smartphone apps and accompanying websites.
The main aim is to locate incidences of a number of high priority invasive plant species. There is currently a lack of information on exactly how serious the problem presented by invasive plant species really is. With your help we hope to build the most complete picture yet and provide the raw data to those that need it most in (almost) real time.
Obtaining accurate data about the distribution of invasive species is of paramount importance when it comes to assessing impact and formulating a response. But data provision is often patchy and records are usually unverifiable and lacking accurate geographic reference.
The PlantTracker project has addressed these problems by combining the development of a smartphone application with the power of crowd-sourcing data collection; that's to say the app enables real data to be collected by interested members of the public in the field. Critically, each record collected is verifiable since it is comprised of a photograph along with other relevant metadata. Records are also accurately geo-located since the app utilises the phone’s inbuilt GPS capabilities, often resolving the location to a matter of metres.
Another benefit of the app is that we have built photographic ID guides into it for you, so that you'll be able to more easily distinguish those nasty non-natives from our similar looking indigenous plants - phew!
Data collected by the PlantTracker app is passed through to the Biological Records Centre's iRecord system. The goal of iRecord is to make it easier for wildlife sightings to be collated, checked by experts and made available to support research and decision-making at local and national levels. The data itself is stored in the Biological Records Centre's data warehouse, which they run and maintain on behalf of the volunteer recording community in Great Britain.
Verified data is passed onto the NBN Gateway where it is accessible at full resolution to anyone who needs it.