Several farming groups in the south of Wiltshire needed to record the biodiversity on their farms. This was to understand both what they had currently and how changes in farming practices could positively impact biodiversity.
Always very busy with day-day tasks, observations noted down using pen & paper got lost or just never made it into the records database. Also, because there was no standard form to fill out, records were usually missing important information and everyone tended to record things in a slightly different way, making the data hard to compare.
There was also no feedback to the person recording the data. They had very little visibility of their data after it had been reported, so the incentive to keep on recording wasn’t strong.
Essentially a simple tool was needed to both provide the ability for farmers to ID the wildlife on their farms and record it in-situ.
“Coreo has completely changed how we work, for the better. Its powerful features & ease of use have allowed us to build customised data recording apps for our farming groups. This has resulted in lots more records being submitted with no delay in the data flow. The best thing is there’s no more paper records in the post or data entry errors.”Simon Smart – Senior Environmental Consultant at Black Sheep Countryside Management
Simon is the facilitator for two farming groups in south Wiltshire. He developed an app for each group using Coreo since each operates separately – and he also wanted to promote a bit of friendly competition.
- Each app features an in-depth ID guide covering the species of interest. The ID guides include photos and audio files to help farmers recognise birds by their calls and songs.
- Whilst essentially the same, each app records and presents slightly different information. One app has a custom wader survey added to it, to help monitor lapwing.
- The apps enable farmers to collect data on sightings in the field, even when off-line, and have helped to begin building a comprehensive inventory of biodiversity in the area.
“The apps have turned data collection around for the groups. With more than 90 different species recorded to-date and over a thousand records having been submitted per group, we’re now getting far more information than ever before. This increase in records is highly significant to the project, as is the speed that data reach me. A farmer can see something interesting and I’ll have the record in seconds rather than weeks or months later. We’ve seen an exponential increase in records received.
“Farmers have quickly become adept at using the app to both identify what they’re seeing, and submit data. They love that the app lets them submit data immediately or back home if the data connection is poor in the field.
“The potential for apps within farming networks is clear to see. The uptake by farmers has been high, and with some gentle encouragement they have really embraced recording. Some are even getting hooked on it – thanks to the apps.”