This application will allow you to upload your nature photographs to the largest worldwide database of georeferenced images. In a short time, your animals, plants, lichens or rocks will be identified by specialists. In this way, you can save your files with their correct names.
Price: free (the app itself and its use as a simple user)
Runs offline: partially
Last update: Android 15/04/2016 – iOS 25/09/2015
Website of the developer: Proconsi
Biodiversidad Virtual (BV – Virtual Biodiversity in English) is a platform funded and managed by the association Fotografía y Biodiversidad that enables you to discover the biodiversity of your environment through a resource that has experienced a huge growth in recent years: the photography. With more than one and a half million of georeferenced images, of which approximately 70% are identified, BV has become a vast repository of biodiversity data for scientific organizations of the country.
The platform offers two forms of collaboration: by uploading your images, for which you must give up the rights of your photos and data (always they will be used for scientific and/or research purposes and your authorship will be recognized) and fill out later a form through which you will open a user account (the activation can take up to 72 hours), or collaborating as partner, paying a minimum fee of €10 by year.
In addition to the web, the platform also has versions for Android and iOS devices that facilitate the capturing and sending pictures. The mobile app has the following options:
- Sacar fotografía (Take photo), option to take photos with your mobile (dimensions should not exceed 600×800 pixels in horizontal or vertical format, nor 300 kb).
- Subir imagen (Upload picture), where you need to associate your picture with one of the following 12 themes or galleries: Plants, Invertebrates, Birds, Fungi and Lichens, Fish and Algae, Habitats and Impacts, Ethnography, Geology, Atmospheric phenomena, Microscopic life, Mammals or Herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles). The application includes also another category of “monitoring” that could not be located on the web. Once this step is made, you can add more data to the image such as author, title, habitats, latitude and longitude (you can select the point directly from the “Map” option), country, province and city.
- Imágenes subidas (Images uploaded), where you can see the photos you’ve uploaded through the application.
- Ayuda (Help), with a tour through the different options.
- Configuración (Settings), option to confirm the ID received by mail.
User’s manuals (in Spanish)
Images: Screenshots 04/05/2016. © Proconsi
As this initiative demonstrates, the photography can serve as an excuse to allow an approach of people to their immediate natural environment. Thus, while users tag correctly their images, they collaborate generating data on the different species. These data can be used later in scientific works, as reflects the study of Lepidoptera referenced in the section “More Information”. Therefore, although the application itself may not be classified as a 100% environmental app, it’s considered appropriate to include it in this web as a recognition of the role that is developing the organization who manages BV, which in addition to the storage and identification of images, develops also interesting parallel initiatives such as the testings or biological prospecting in a particular area or the Taxofoto project.
Focusing the analysis on the mobile app and web app, it would be advisable to simplify and automate the registration of users because now it’s necessary to complete the form, validate the account via link, wait for activation (task performed by the site administrator) and enter an ID to use the application, which is not operational until all these steps are performed. Similarly and taking into account the features of current mobile devices, the limited dimensions that require images to be uploaded may hinder the use of the application in outdoor areas. Regarding data and as the own web highlights in the section to upload photos, BV reserves the right to conceal the exact location of the images. The privacy of this kind of data in order to contribute to the protection is understandable if they give rise to the location of breeding sites or nesting areas of protected species, to give a couple of examples. But when it comes to images depicting adult animals in feeding areas, for example, to provide this information may be interesting as a way to promote the wildlife watching tourism. It would also be necessary to adapt the web to mobile devices in order to facilitate its use in outdoors areas and identify in situ the photographed species.