Things have been busy at Project Seagrass with lots of development on SeagrassSpotter. Since our last major update, we have been working to enhance the ways that SeagrassSpotter works for its users. We’re excited to share that our latest update includes many of the features you have been asking for, and a few more.
One of the six main global challenges to seagrass conservation is that the status of many seagrass meadows is unknown, and up-to-date information on status and condition is essential for conservation. While we’re making great strides in using drone technology and satellite imaging for seagrass mapping, new technologies still depend on “ground-truth” data, which is where SeagrassSpotter comes in. This is how individuals can make lasting contributions to seagrass conservation.
With this in mind and coupled with the requests you’ve made, we’ve released a new version of SeagrassSpotter. We’ve developed a completely new exploration and filter function, allowing you to select data from certain species, countries, and more. We’ve also made it easier for you to download SeagrassSpotter data and generate reports on the things that matter most. Finally, we’ve added a completely new upload function for absence data; places where seagrass isn’t found or used to be found but now isn’t – data that will help us and other transform habitat suitability modelling.
Take a look at our feature recaps below to learn about each one in depth.
We understand the importance of being able to view the data you collect – you can see in real time how you’re contributing to the bigger picture. Data exploration is the first step of data analysis and is used to explore and visualize data to uncover insights from the start or identify areas or patterns to dig into more. Using interactive filtering, users can better understand the bigger picture and get to insights faster. You can filter data by any of the parameters that SeagrassSpotter collects (e.g., algae, fishing activity, flowering) and display this either in grid format or map format.
In addition to our new explore tab, we’ve added new report generation features that allow you to download data that is filtered by any of the parameters that you select. Only want seagrass data from the Philippines? No problem! We understand the importance of being able to easily download data and have worked to remove barriers to this. All SeagrassSpotter data is free to access, and you don’t even need to sign up for an account. Open Access data will make conserving seagrass easier for everyone.
It’s imperative that we know where seagrass is growing, but to advance seagrass restoration, it’s also important that we know where seagrass isn’t growing, and why. Whether it’s been lost, or simply was never found there in the past, our new absence data function allows you to add data on other habitats and substrates such as mangroves, coral, seaweeds, rocks, sand and mud. This will make habitat suitability modelling easier and more efficient, while also adding greater ground truthing needs for remote sensing.
We understand that for SeagrassSpotter to be a global tool, it needs to be accessible to all, no matter what language you speak. Over the past few years, we’ve slowly been adding additional languages to increase usability in many of the countries we work. Alongside this, we’re developing an app within SeagrassSpotter called SpotLang that provides a means for anybody to help curate new languages with us. As it currently stands, SeagrassSpotter is available in nine languages; English, Welsh, French, Portuguese, Swahili, Thai, Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malay and Tetun. If you are interested in contributing to new languages, please get in touch.