Science Reference: Yale University Releases “Map of Life” App for Android and iOS
Building on the Map of Life’s unrivaled, integrated global database of everything from bumblebees to trees, the app tells users in an instant which species are likely to be found in their vicinity. Photos and text help users identify and learn more about what they see. The app also helps users create personal lists of observations and contribute those to scientific research and conservation efforts.
“The app puts a significant proportion of our global knowledge about biodiversity in the palm of your hand, and allows you to discover and connect with biodiversity in a place, wherever you are,” said Walter Jetz, a Yale University associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and the guiding force behind Map of Life. “This vast information, personalized for where we are, can change the way we identify and learn about the things we see when traveling, hiking in the woods, or stepping in our own back yard.”
Instead of sifting through hundreds of pages in a printed field guide, naturalists get a digital guide that is already tailored to their location. With a novel modeling and mapping platform covering tens of thousands of species — everything from mammals and birds to plants, amphibians, reptiles, arthropod groups, and fish — Map of Life presents localized species information via maps, photographs, and detailed information. The National Science Foundation and NASA provided initial support for the Map of Life. Google and Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung also have supported the project.
Thanks to a recording feature, citizen scientists everywhere can log their bird encounters and dragonfly sightings directly into the app and add to the biodiversity data available to scientists around the world. “Think of a field guide that continues to improve the more we all use it and add to it. That is the beauty of this mobile application, and its great strength,” said Rob Guralnick, associate curator at the University of Florida and the project’s co-leader. “We hope that the Map of Life app, built from 100 years of knowledge about where species are found, will accelerate our ability to completely close the many gaps in our biodiversity knowledge.”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.