WWF's Conservation Innovation Awards

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Bio-diversity Statistics Platform

The creation of a statistics program, that can be used to compare the largest possible number of environmental and ecological factors that affect individual recorded species. Factors may include things like habitat, food, geographic areas, predator/prey relationships etc, that can be checked for overlap and patterns within and between different species of organisms.

 

 

What conservation problem are you trying to solve?

It enables the global and shared use of old and new ecological data to collaborate ideas and allow researchers and environmental organisations around the world to make decisions regarding conservation projects. It will enable us to take into consideration an increased number of the ecological factors that influence species abundance and dispersal, and examine relationships visually, for better management and easier interpretation of data.

How are you going to solve this conservation problem?

This would be like a server, application or a computer program, aimed at (but not limited to) researchers, that enables visual comparison of species in an intereactive way. This allows us to more quickly distinguish patterns occurring in our environment that could be used to direct research and conservation management.


For example, the geographical locations and dietary requirements of a bird, might be compared to that of a deer, in order to decide on whether they could co-exist in the same geographical location. Data on where they are found, what they eat (including the species they eat), their habitats (and species of their habitat if applicable, like tree species) etc can be visually and mathematically compared, using statistical models to quantitatively determine the viability of the species co-existence. The same data could also be compared by time-series to watch the impact that changing ecological factors has on species.

What makes your idea new and unique?

It combines our increasing technological computing power, with the ability to globally collaborate ideas between scientists, researchers and educators.

Current programs dont allow for mass collaboration and sharing of data and ideas. Keeping ecological data private however is going to hold back people from using what we have to solve our environmental crisis. It's not about making money, but saving time and sharing resources to positively impact our planet.

Who will use your idea, and how will they benefit?

Researchers, educators and also the general public can use it for basic or medium level statistical calculations, discover patterns that may provide foresight into the outcome of posed or current research questions and simply allow data to be visualised and veiwed from another perspective for ease of interpretation and better understanding of conservation implications.

What tasks or activities do you need investment for? How would you spend a $25,000 grant?

The idea is in the early stages of development, but I'm hoping to use the grant to cover the majority of the cost of getting the program developed in real life, with program developers here in New Zealand.

Are you a New Zealand citizen or resident?

YES

I have read and agree to the Crowdicity Terms of Use, the Conservation Innovation Awards 2016 Supplemental Terms and Conditions, and the Crowdicity Community Guidelines

YES

List five other ideas posted in the challenge that excite you. Why?

There were many that did!!
But some, such as Drone Counts, Waspex, Celium Natures Internet, Long Live the Kakapo and Fiduciary Legislation seemed to be well thought out for the most part, and had good potential. I liked these (but a range of others also) for their practicality and applicibility to a range of situations. A few could easily be combined, such as Drone Counts and Celium Natures Internet, to collaborate and make a combined single product/idea.

How could you improve your idea?

Considerations:

- The program will require data checking mechanisms, possibly automatically standardise data in some instances (eg, coverting units) however in cases it can’t, the program user would need this to be recognised when using the data in comparisons etc, so they know the factors being compared may be bias. (Thankyou IngeBolt for the standardising feedback)

- People uploading data can make their data-set restricted access (visible by all but can’t be copied/downloaded) or open-access, used by anyone. This encourages those nervous their data might be exploited/stolen to still use the program, and those not so concerned, to just get the information out there.

- Online storage of data is much more susceptible to hacking/attacks where it might be exploited by those up to no good. I have not yet done enough research on this part yet, but ideally the program is a mixture of both online (for easy discussion making) and offline usage (enables the program to be carried with scientists/researchers etc, who can use the program out on the field conducting research/conservation projects.

Tagged users
edited on Oct 13, 2016 by Nicole

James Edwards Oct 11, 2016

hello Nicole. I actually have in mind a similar project and had planned on submitting to the competition but saw yours and voted for you instead. Is there any chance you'd be prepared to collaborate? I've got access to a web technology that I reckon would prove useful in developing such a project. I spoke to a web developer about it today and he's evaluating the software technology at the moment. My email address is intrepidvagabond@outlook.co.nz if you want to contact me. Sorry I couldn't find a way to message you privately.

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Christopher Wingate Oct 12, 2016

Regarding the software- there must be existing platforms available- hopefully open source. Or you could approach the likes of Oracle for development under some social entrepreneurship program - have you seen- http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/13648152/75
or closer to home- http://www.primer-e.com/primer.htm
Best wishes

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Christopher Wingate Oct 13, 2016

I am hoping to get your support to vote for Dr Maggie Evans who until I intervened only had 2 votes. Her work is critical science to help save critically endangered birds such as the Kakapo. Please take a look and lets all give her our support. We are all in this together. Cheers- https://wwf-nz.crowdicity.com/post/285779

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Nicole Oct 13, 2016

Thanks James, the technology you discussed could be very helpful to implementing this project. I am yet to finish reading your additional research, but I shall get back to you by email hopefully today or tomorrow. Thanks for your support! :)

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James Edwards Oct 14, 2016

Look forward to hearing from you Nicole.

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View all replies (4)

Inge Bolt Oct 12, 2016

I think the idea is good, but how do you standardise the inputs.....that may be the first assignment. Lots of stats definitely help to understand our environment and what lives in it. Good luck

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Nicole Oct 13, 2016

I definitly agree! Many challenges to standardising too, due to the nature of how data is collected and how experiments to collect it are carried out. Thankyou for your comment- you've got me thinking a bit more about it and starting to pull some more ideas about how to go about solving this implication. :)

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Michele Frank Oct 13, 2016

Hi Nicole don't forget to complete the next step of the process

You must answer two more questions in your idea submission form to pass this last milestone:

List five other ideas posted in the challenge that excite you. Why?
How could you improve your idea?
Click on the "Edit your idea" button in the milestones window above your challenge to access your original post and answer the additional questions. You can also click on "Edit" in the "Author's tools" bar above your idea to edit your submission.

Make sure you make it through to final judging.

Cheers
Michele

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cecile de groot Oct 13, 2016

This is a great idea towards collating and accessing a huge volume of information. I wonder if it could be run as a database akin to Wikipedia, that can be continuously updated by researchers, educators and experts in their field.

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