Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2014 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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Lessons learned - The generic citizen science biodiversity data application ‘anymals + plants’
Falko Glöckler, Daniel Zitterbart, Thomas Uher, Marco Uher, Alexander Kroupa, Gregor Hagedorn

Building: Elmia Congress Centre, Jönköping
Room: Rum 11
Date: 2014-10-27 11:45 AM – 12:00 PM
Last modified: 2014-10-24


Many citizen science projects are trying to involve people via mobile technology. As modern mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) are broadly used by people, the project anymals.org (www.anymals.org) also uses this technology to create an interface between laymen, scientists, and digitally available biodiversity information. In our mobile app `anymals + plants` users can retrieve information about biodiversity in their surroundings and they also can record own observations and measurements. Scientists and other citizen science projects can use the application as a generic tool for capturing data and encouraging people to join their activities.
Our general approach was the development of an open and generic application for the different demands of the scientists and laymen so that our system can be used in several projects and to avoid the need for each project to develop its own app in parallel. For the most part, this approach succeeded, however, usability decreased as we increased functionality to meet various demands in one application. Thus, we adapted our strategy and now provide a low-effort framework for creating more specialized citizen science mobile apps, instead of a single complex all purpose application.
In our talk we summarize the lessons learned from the last three project years. We will especially focus on the optimization of the user interface and combining the demands of scientists and laymen without overloading the app. Additionally, we present future plans of anymals.org.