This Open Software project has an interesting potential to map in space AND time.
The basic principal is a geo-tagged photo (of whatever your group's subject is) taken by you, then uploaded to your site that has a 'receiving' map on it. The photo is dated and placed. Now a year later another photo might upload to that exact same spot (by having the same latitude-longitude coordinates "geo-tagging") that would show a change in action, effect, outcome in that spot.
It can be used on a state level, neighborhood, city, country side or county level. Whatever you decide as your boundaries. It's designed to be directed by the community - the constituents. The mapping is done by the people affected, rather than the other way around.
The software is also 'of the people.' There will be apps built for smart phones but ALSO for basic phones that can text and include a photo. As well, you could be phone-less and it will work - upload a digital camera photo. A camera's photo would have to be assigned an approximate latitude-longitude position to get it onto the map.
The phone applications, and the how to build the 'receiving' map would be part of Open Software of the Wildflowers of Detroit project that will be made publicly available once the project is funded at Kickstarter. Leave it to Detroiters to build something that is 'of the people.' The worker capital.
Join in for future potential.
***Scroll all the way down for some FAQ's!
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Wildflowers of Detroit ??
One pervasive vision of Detroit is its ruins - the monolithic hulks of an industrial era gone by, documented in striking photographs and tales of urban exploration. Missing from this narrative is the other side of the coin. In place of those decaying buildings grow plots of wildflowers and wildlife. After knowing these secret gardens and hidden blooms, we feel this crucial story needs to be told. Thats where you come in. Wildflowers of Detroit is a community technology project for cataloging wild plants growing in Detroit, an effort which can enable people's appreciation of its open space. Though experiencing and appreciating the "empty" fields, we can discover together the emerging ecology of this area. Our technologies collaborative WinterRoot is teaming up with Detroit's Omnicorp Hackerspace and Alley Culture's Seed Exchange to bring this vision into being.
An iPhone/Android/Blackberry App?
And even more, we hope! We aim to create Android, iPhone, MMS, and email interfaces (all free) for posting geo-tagged photos of wildflowers, and logging their location and salient details for future study and appreciation. When you spot a great specimen or view of one of Detroit's varied wild plants, you'll be able to whip out your mobile device, snap a picture, and instantly upload to our website along with automatic longitude and latitude coordinates, adding your find to an interactive map. Sometimes it’s called “citizen science,” we call it community ecology - residents participating in the study of their own area. We believe that a community engaged with its own ecology can make relevant and unique urban planning decisions. An incredible phenomenon is afoot in Detroit, lets come together and begin its study!
Want to see it in action??
We already have an alpha version online demonstrating a proof of concept, but we need your help for the full build out. In order for this project to reach its full potential, we need to integrate all mobile devices, provide an interactive map showing the locations of the flowers, solve some technical details like caching of photos in areas of bad 3G reception for later upload, allow comments on each photo for identification and discussion, improve the site layout, integrate with social media, acquire substantial hosting, and get going on some advanced features like searching by species or habitat or providing a good interface for crowdsourced identifications. It's a big list, and it just keeps getting bigger, but we think that this project can help us transform our impressions of grand old Detroit's wild spaces. After backing this project, hop over to www.wildflowersofdetroit.org and start getting involved!!
We plan to construct a small community herbarium in Detroit, creating a physical record of what grew where and when. Linking this with the website and database will create a dynamic and growing resource for children, students, and researchers interested in the incredible urban flora of Detroit. The ultimate tool for understanding the history and fate of the spaces these organisms occupy. We are still working out the details of where and how this will manifest, so check back here or our facebook page for updates!
The funding for this project will be divided between programmers and designers with the knowhow to build the necessary components. In order to make participation possible for the greatest number of people, it's necessary to support all mobile devices. There will be separate software projects to build the iPhone and Android smartphone apps, each directing chunks of funding to relevant programmers. As WinterRoot has developed several iPhone apps, we'll handle the iPhone portion directly but will need to fund an Android expert to recreate the app in Android. We see iPhone and Android taking about 50% of the funding to complete with top notch programming, design, and a deep and well thought out user interface. Another chunk of the funding will go into developing server side scripts that accept for MMS (media text messages sent to a special number) and Email submissions and automatically adding the to the web database. Of course, the website and interactive map are another subproject that funding will be allocated to as well, and all aspects of this project will need top notch design and usability. Finally, funding will pay for hosting and management of all these softwares for the foreseeable future - fortunately we have an inexpensive solution for this, so we know we can deliver on this promise. As you can see, there are a lot of pieces of the pie, with funding very quickly being divided up between smaller projects, and though we'd certainly benefit from an overfunded project we that that our funding goal is the minimum necessary amount to make the project feasible while maintaining a high quality in the final software.
How can the things you're suggesting be possible? Don't you need to be a computer wiz to create a project like this?
Actually, yes you do. Luckily, WinterRoot is a group of computer scientists and designers who already have a plan of how to execute the technological aspects of this project. Should Wildflowers become a funded project, the bulk of the funding will go toward creating the software needed to make this project possible.
No. A portion of this project's funding is going to be used to create the ability for individuals to email and text message images to the website, where they will be posted. This means that even if you don't have a cellphone, you can take a photograph of wild plants and upload them to the website. In that scenario, there will be a format for entering in your name, and latitude and longitude locations should you choose to find them yourself, though it is not required.
This word describes the process of adding geographical metadata to media, in this case a photograph with latitude and longitude coordinates. Wildflowers will use this data, taken from your cellphone's global positioning system, to post images as pin points onto a map, displaying them on our website.
Beyond the initial submission comments, identification of plants will be croud-sourced. Each person, should they decide to signup for this portion of the website, will be able to log in and comment on a photo's identification or ecological status. Additionally, experts will be distinguished from regular users and capable of over-riding others users identification remarks.
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