The Observers App was developed by Ocean Research & Conservation Ireland (O.R.C.Ireland) in 2017 to help encourage citizen science and engagement with marine conservation of marine megafauna (whales, dolphins, seals, sharks and seabirds).
Since the first launch of the app on Google Play, the Observers App has provided an excellent tool for out-reach, awareness and monitoring of protected species, particularly the humpback whale (Megaptera novaengliae), the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) and the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncates).
O.R.C.Ireland is a non-profit organisation based in University College Cork that is dedicated to monitoring ad minimising disturbance to marine wildlife, ran by student volunteers and directed by marine scientists in collaboration with the public, eco-tour operators, and maritime industry all around the country.
The Observers App was conceptualised by O.R.C.Ireland founder Emer Keaveney in 2017 having spent a considerable amount of time scanning the oceans surface in the hopes of getting an observation of a humpback whale and went to look for a dedicated marine megafauna recording app across the various app stores to help track their movements - with none available it was only logical to develop one that could provide an easy and accurate way of recording marine biodiversity.
With the power of mobile phone technology, the Observers App allows access to recording of animals in even the most remotest of areas - easily used by locals and even fishermen at sea to record sightings and strandings.
The app is still in its early stages but is already able to provide information on who is seeing what, where and when and allow us to share our observations with like-minded people. It also doubles as a free educational resource, has an “Observers Tool-kit” and makes citizen science fun and easy - with a handy recording tool right in your pocket.
These data can then be used to manage important areas for protected species like whales, dolphins, seals and seabirds and to create a conservation plan for marine megafauna in Irish waters. Data on temporal and spatial trends is shared with the National Biodiversity Data Centre and can be viewed by anyone and downloaded on request- contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Personal data is never shared with third parties and full credit is always given for the media uploaded to the app