People can now enjoy the best of Abu Dhabi’s rich biodiversity thanks to the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi’s (EAD) the new smartphone app – “Collector for ArcGIS” – which allows users to document the wildlife and plants.
Over the past few years, and as part of its efforts to protect the Emirates’ biodiversity, EAD has been surveying plants and animals across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The information gathered helps the Agency to better account for, plan, preserve and manage Abu Dhabi’s biodiversity.
The use of modern technology such as the Geographic Information System (GIS) has been an integral part of EAD’s work since its inception. Back in 1994, researchers began using GIS technology for wildlife conservation and environmental protection at the National Avian Research Center, and EAD invested in GIS technologies to track endangered species in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in various fields.
Khansa Al Blouki, Section Manager-Environmentally Sustainable Communities & Living, Environmental Information, Science & Outreach Management: “With this initiative we aim to increase public participation and engagement in preserving our natural heritage. Besides being a mapping exercise, this app will provide a platform for the public to showcase their passion for the rich biodiversity that we are privileged to have in our Emirate.”
Through downloading the “Collector for ArcGIS”, which is available on smartphones for free (including iPhone or Android), the public can take pictures of animals and plants which then get translated into a graphic representation on a map using GIS. This data is then fed into a centralised database that gets updated in real-time.
Al Blouki said: “We are glad to invite the general public, wherever they live or travel in Abu Dhabi, to use this application to report on plants or animals that they may spot, especially if they look unusual to them. They don’t have to know what they are called; all they need to do is to send a photo and our experts can identify them, they might even come across a species that is new to science!”
“The app is very user-friendly and fun to navigate. People just need to enter the following one time login details – Username: EADECO, Password: abudhabi and then simply enjoy the best of our flora and fauna,” Al Blouki added.
EAD had previously launched this technology in schools as a part of the Sustainable Schools Initiative to assist students in their biodiversity surveys within (for the Green Audit component of SSI) and outside of their schools (for the field trips component of SSI). The app allowed for a more comprehensive and accurate data gathering exercise.
This technology was also used when students took part in EAD’s data collection for its terrestrial baseline survey, which was aimed at collecting formation on Abu Dhabi’s terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystems throughout all seasons.
More about “Collector for ArcGIS”
Collector for ArcGIS is a Smartphone App designed specifically for iPhone and Android smartphones along with Tablets like iPad.
•Requires Internet connectivity in terms of Data Plan or Wifi to work.
•The Collector for ArcGIS App provides intelligent data entry forms specific to your interest.
•Attach Photos: Pictures can be taken using the in-built camera in smartphones or added using the gallery.