AVIS Project is a collaborative database of geolocated bird sightings in Spain that allows the exchange of information between ornithologists, associations and amateurs
Language: English / Spanish (species searches can also be carried out in Catalan, Basque and Galician)
Runs offline: no
Last update: Android 15/11/2016 (v. 1.1.4)
Website of the developer: AVIS Project
AVIS Project is an initiative that, through citizen science, enables bird sightings and their registration in Spanish territory, creating in this way a geolocated database (with respect to UTM 10×10 km grid. The app doesn’t provide exact coordinates).
Once installed, the device’s GPS detects your situation to determine in which UTM grid you are located. The application does not require the opening of a user account to make queries, a requirement necessary only if you wish to register new bird sightings.
The menu includes the following options:
- Refresh location and Check location, to correctly define the geographical location area.
- Species in my location, where you can also select the year.
- Search observations, tab from which you can search through the included drop-down list or through textual search. You can also make use of the numerous filters available to adjust your query. The fields Observation code and Period code are created from the web app and basically serve to gather data from different registered observers under a same code of identification previously communicated. In this way, coordinated censuses can be carried out..
- Search periods, from where you can perform searches based on known bird observatories or itineraries that have allowed the recording of observations.
- UTM squares coverage, section in which the number of recorded observations, species, etc. are included as a summary. It also includes a map in which the density of sightings can be visualized.
- Species, tab containing the number of observations, individuals, UTM grids with sightings and number of collaborators who have contributed information. By clicking on each species, a tab with information on the observations made is displayed
- Contributors, where the different users and the main statistics of their observations are listed.
- Users, option to register as a new user or sign up to upload new sightings.
- The project, section containing a description of the genesis and objectives of the project.
It is worth mentioning that from the web page can also make queries (if you choose to view the results on map, it is offered as a possibility the loading of additional information layers such as relief, average temperature or rainfall).
Furthermore to being able to export the sightings to files with *.cgi extension (to open these files with Excel, for example, you have to change the file extension to *.csv), the web page includes la the possibility to download a package created for R software that allows the statistical analysis of the AVIS Project database (this specialized analysis package was described in this PLOS ONE article).
Images: screenshots 08/02/2017. ©Proyecto AVIS
As this website has pointed out in previous occasions, the knowledge of the species that populate a territory is a key information for the definition of the most appropriate policies and measures of protection. It is not only a question of knowing the biodiversity of a country, but also of exploiting in a sustainable way its resources, supporting, for example, the development of activities related to ecotourism or ornithological tourism in those more propitious areas, thus generating wealth to the local population and business and employment opportunities.
Although periodically census of species that determine the health of the different populations are carried out, tools such as AVIS Project allow the continuous and periodic recording of sightings, being a fundamental work that allows to visualize tendencies in the avifauna. In addition, the development of a R sotfware package that allows the incorporation of AVIS Project data into this popular statistical software, being able to relate sightings data to other sources of information, adds value to this initiative. Although the use of the application requires certain knowledge in bird identification or the use of bibliographic material or other applications that help to the recognition of species, its simple design and its low weight make of it a quite useful tool for the field work. Sin embargo, durante las pruebas (el dispositivo utilizado tiene un sistema operativo Android 6.0), se han detectado algunos errores y aspectos a mejorar. For example, in the app, the textual introduction of species did not work correctly, being the only form of selection the drop-down list. An explanation of some fields such as Observation code and Period code is also missing, concepts on which information has not been found on the web and which may create confusion, especially among newcomers. With a view to future versions, it would be interesting to enable the tool operation without internet connection, a utility that in certain areas with little coverage can be very practical.