The Red Squirrel Survival Trust has donated £4,000 to RSNE to help red squirrel conservationists harness the power of one of the world’s leading mapping and location analytics platforms, Esri’s ArcGIS Online, also used by health agencies and law enforcement to deliver important services.
The funding will help RSNE’s ranger team and participating community volunteer groups across the north of England to plan and analyse conservation activities; efficiently collect the associated data in the field and encourage the public to easily submit squirrel sightings online and on mobile devices.
Results can effortlessly be shared with stakeholders via searchable and intuitive online dashboards that will analyse and present data via maps, tables and graphs. This will help practitioners to migrate from a time-consuming, manual process to semi-automated, real- time analysis of conservation activities, at a local and regional scale - all of which are vital to effectively protect red squirrels from the threat posed by non-native greys.
The annual Spring Squirrel Monitoring Programme, coordinated by RSNE and conducted by community volunteer group partners, is also set to benefit from the development - by facilitating the capture of survey results in the field, from over 150 volunteers surveying nearly 300 sites across six northern counties, and to automate the analysis of data, in the context of the last decade that the programme has been running.
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Speaking about the funding boost, Heinz Traut, RSNE Project Manager said: “It is often said that a picture can communicate a thousand words and the same can be said for a map or graph, suitably presented and explained.
“In our case it is nearly 20,000 records per year, which requires an enormous effort to process and digest, and then to summarise it once a year. But, what if we could automate the process and have the results in real-time? That is what ArcGIS Online will enable us to do so I would like to say a massive thank you to RSST and Esri’s Non-profit Organization Program.”