LOOK WILD The LookWild Project – Biological Recording made painless
The LookWild Project is a clever new to way to get involved with biological recording. Instead of going down the old ‘pen and paper’ approach, it uses the iNaturalist smartphone app.
In biological recording there are four important things that must be recorded for a useful dataset – what species has been found, where it was found, when it was found and finally who found it. When using an app like iNaturalist, these four things are automatically filled in for you when you take a photo of your subject. An identification AI will suggest what species you have photographed, and your phone will provide both the date and current GPS location.
Having this system in place effectively means that all you need to create a record is a good photograph of your subject. By joining the LookWild project within the app, iNaturalist will send the records to the NBN (the National Biodiversity Network), allowing the records to be used in species distribution maps which are used to inform vital conservation work.
Who is LookWild aimed at?
This project is aimed at people who are new to biological recording or are casual recorders. The convenience of the iNaturalist app makes easy to use and through the process you can learn how to identify key species. It’s like having an expert in your pocket!
How does the project help?
Biological recording itself allows an accurate species distribution map to be drawn up, which in turn can be used by many organisations such as government bodies, charities and research institutes. While they can use this information for a range of things (such as determining species at risk from climate change or providing a mandate to protect what remains of the UK’s biodiversity).
The organisations involved in the project are the National Biodiversity Network (the UK’s largest recording charity), the iNaturalist app (whose platform is used to make the records) and the UK National parks. Although originally trialled within the National parks only, the area covered by the scheme has now expanded to the entirety of the UK – bringing easy record collection to all.
Download the app
Find out more about Look Wild on the website where you can also download the iNaturalist app for your android or apple device.