Can digital technology assist your group with natural resource management?

17th April, 2018

Perth NRM’s Using Digital Technology in NRM seminar focused on raising awareness of the benefits of technology and the preparation required to implement it successfully. 

Attendees from environmental groups, industry and state and local governments learned about the extensive range of digital technology projects, and the diverse tools that are already used in Western Australia – drones, wildlife monitoring cameras, Apps, databases, GPS units and combinations of hyperspectral, thermal and sensor technology – to improve the environmental management. The opportunities are endless, but each speaker reiterated the need for thorough preparation of projects.

The benefits of environmental groups using applications to record sightings, conduct surveys and share images was highlighted by the speakers. Birdata, Dolphin Watch and MicroBlitz citizen science programs help to ensure that data is easily collected and more precise. Michael Hope from the Atlas of Living Australia explained the how BioCollect facilitates capture and management of NRM data in the field.

 “Smartphone apps like Birdata are a fantastic asset for NRM, as they  streamline data collection and facilitate structured monitoring by volunteers. Simple things like prompting the user to complete all survey fields and check for errors while still in field increase the rate of survey completion, and make the most of the valuable effort put in by volunteers,” explained Dr Tegan Douglas from the Birdlife WA.   

Wide ranging discussions were had about the ethical considerations of personal data collected when applications are used for citizen science through the possibilities of integrating new information with existing data sets. The capacity of different tools to enable the different sectors of NRM to engage, manage and report more effectively on biodiversity, and the barriers to sharing data were explored.

Perth NRM would like to thank the speakers for sharing their knowledge and time with us; Piers Higgs, Gaia Resources; Dr Tegan Douglas, Birdlife WA; Dr Chandra P. Salgado Kent, Blueprint Oceans; Jo Taylor, City of Stirling; Michael Hope, Atlas of Living Australia; and Dr Paul Barber, Arbor Carbon.

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