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eCountability

The launch of the UKHab Survey App

The Challenge

Established in 2010, eCountability, is a specialist ecological consultancy based in South-West England that focuses on supporting organisations with their ecological accountability. 

The eCountability team works with a wide range of businesses including landowners, to help them assess their baseline biodiversity units and options for delivering uplift under Biodiversity Net Gain policy. 

Many projects include habitat surveying, using the UK Habitat Classification (“UKHab”), the standard system developed by habitat specialists and managed by UKHab Ltd.

As many ecologists will know, habitat surveying can be a complex and resource intensive process. 

The eCountability team, like many consultancies, have predominantly used paper-based data collection methods in the past, but this was inefficient. With a variety of methods being used and notes taken, the process often ended with inconsistent results. The need to transcribe paper-based data into GIS once the surveyors were back in the office also created a significant extra workload.

“It has meant that we are now spending less time surveying and transcribing and have more time to focus on what really matters to our clients – data analysis, interpretation and advice".

Bill Butcher (Founder Director, eCountability Ltd)

The Solution

Key features

For use in their own projects and to make the work of other habitat surveyors more productive, the eCountability team wanted to adopt a software solution for their data collection. 

However, it was essential that any transition was positive for the survey team.  

After much research, the team came to the conclusion that Coreo was the best platform to meet their needs. 

The first project for the eCountability team has been to transfer their paper based UKHab survey onto the Coreo platform, combining the power and logic of UKHab with the strengths of a mature and flexible mapping platform.

By using Coreo, the eCountability team have: 

Due to the features of Coreo, such as conditional fields, the UKHab survey has now become a much more efficient process as it enables complex, context-specific information to be presented to the user exactly when needed. 

ID guides instantly available on smartphones give users support with identification of habitat types, meaning that less experienced surveyors can double check their assessments and feel more confident. 

Coreo’s mapping functionality allows surveyors to record area and linear features by interpretation of aerial imagery pre-survey in the office and then add more detailed UKHab data in the field. For Biodiversity Net Gain projects, condition assessment of habitats can be recorded in the field directly in the App.

 

The Results

Coreo has allowed those without prior tech experience to create something that was previously unachievable. 

The Coreo dashboard is very easy to use and staff follow a standard data structure at all project stages. This means habitat data is consistent and can be shared with clients and project partners.

It has meant that we are now spending less time surveying and transcribing and have more time to focus on what really matters to our clients – data analysis, interpretation and advice.

Bill Butcher (Founder Director, eCountability Ltd) 

As well as using the UKHab Survey App in house, the app is now available to ecologists for use in their business to help them to save time and streamline their habitat surveying. Find out more here.

With Coreo already making UKHab surveys easier and better, it’s only the beginning of Coreo for the eCountability team. 

The team are already planning on extending the use of the software into other applications such as species surveys, while continuing to update and extend the UKHab Survey App to support other organisations in making ecological survey more efficient, accurate and enjoyable.

Are you conducting habitat surveys?

Check out the UKHab Survey App