Smart Phone Apps Can Help The Environment
Smart phones can keep your schedule, map a road trip and surf the Internet. Now Alachua County wants residents to use them to help the environment.
Alachua County Environmental Protection Department Director Chris Bird said, "I think within a year we're going to see just a lot more of this. this is really just the beginning."
The Alachua County EPD just started using two free smart phone applications. On the iPhone there's "Creek Watch" to identify trash or pollutants in local creeks. On the Android, there's an app called "What's Invasive?" to identify invasive plants and animals.
Your smart phone can help you do your civic duty. If you're taking a walk and you see something that doesn't look quite right, just open the application, take a picture and send it in.
Bird said, "When they use these apps and they take a picture, automatically the exact location is recorded on the photo and so when we see it and it's put on the map, we know where it is, we don't have to rely on a street address."
Bird said the applications will save the county time and money, while helping them to deal with environmental issues in the area.
Bird said, "For example, we can't afford to have field inspectors out looking for a lot of this."
The "What's Invasive?" app can help residents identify whether plants they see are invasive or not. And Bird said when in doubt, send a picture anyway.
UF grad student Nathan Hall spends a lot of time on trails in Alachua County. He said, "I think it's a good idea...anytime you can get at the people that are able to come out here all the time and see all of these different things, well then it's more eyes, more people looking at these type of problems."
Bird said this type of technology, with involves the community in gathering important information, is the way of the future. He said, "I know that in other places they're using it to identify where there's graffiti, pot holes, a whole bunch of things...anything that we get a phone call on now, you could really do with this."
It seems the "applications" will be endless.
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