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.
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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!
- (30 days)