The Environment Agency, the Nature Locator team at the University of Bristol and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology have joined forces to help combat the spread of the UK’s most problematic invasive, non-native plant species.
Runs offline: yes
Last update: Android 19/08/2015 – iOS 24/09/2015
Notes: article updated on 26/10/2015
PlantTracker is a mobile application that also features web version and allows the introduction of citations of invasive plants in Britain.
The app shows how to identify each species and allows to obtain georeferenced images. The update has increased the number of species of the 14 included in the previous version to the 18 of the current version. It has also changed the design of sheets, although the content still maintaining the same fields (scientific name, common name, image gallery, other species which can be mistaken, description, habitat, range, harmful effects, how it spreads, its history and origin). In the new version, the application allows you to select the level of knowledge on invasive plants (can be modified later from the section “Settings”). Although the usefulness of this feature is not explained, it is likely that it will serve to define the degree of supervision that requires the sighting.
To register new records, now it is necessary to open an account using an email and password and fill out a form via app or web. The upgrade has increased the number of fields of the form, establishing as required the fields species, photographs, location, date and number of specimens. These new sightings are verified by the supervisor team and mapped.
Images: Screenshot 26/10/2015 ©University of Bristol
The spread of invasive plants is an unknown problem but which can lead to significant damage, as in the case of Japanese knotweed, whose presence in countries like Britain devalues property prices. For this reason it is important the awareness of citizens and their participation in the location and identification of such species in order to apply treatments that prevent the growth and / or proliferation.
The application update has introduced some of the demands of users, such as the inclusion of images with a higher resolution. However, the app still not includes maps with ightings made by other persons (this query can be made only from the website), another aspect claimed by some users of the previous version.