ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - The Alachua County Environmental Protection Department (ACEPD) recently deployed two free applications for smart phones that empower citizens to help identify and report environmental problems in the County.
These smart phone applications include: What's Invasive (What's Invasive empowers citizens with smart phone to help the County map the location of invasive, exotic plants that are damaging local natural areas and farmland. Click here to read more), and Creek Watch (Creek Watch allows users to locate and report the present of trash and other pollution in area waterways. Click here for more information).
“This is amazing. Citizens can now use their smart phones to help Alachua County identify environmental concerns. Due to County budget cuts, we have less staff and resources available for environmental field response, creating a void that concerned citizens can help fill.” said Chris Bird, ACEPD Director. "The smart phone applications we deployed for this purpose are currently available free of charge."
To report an environmental concern using a smart phone, the user opens the application, takes a GPS-tagged photo, sends the report to the host site for automatic data processing and mapping. Reported data is then compiled onto web-based maps for use by citizens and the County’s Environmental Protection staff.
County staff is currently reviewing additional free smart phone applications. This smart phone technology works with cell phones to utilize the phone's Global Position System (GPS), high resolution cameras, web access, and data entry capabilities. This process, called, “Participatory Sensing” is a citizens based approach to data collection that involves citizens and community groups in the process of sensing and documenting where they work, live, and play.
Click here to read more about Participatory Sensing.
For more information, contact Chris Bird at 352-264-6801.