An Open Source Solution for Small-scale Personal and Community-based Citizen Science

Do you organize or participate in a simple community-based citizen science project, such as the Christmas Bird Count, or a breeding species survey? Or do you collect data yourself often? EcoLore is designed to help make the organizing of small-scale citizen science projects much easier.

Currently many community-based citizen science projects are coordinated purely via email and spreadsheets. It's a vast improvement over by-phone and by-mail operations of the past, but is still can take up a lot of time for an organizer. EcoLore is designed to help give a home-base for these projects on the web, and give tools to coordinators to manage assigning of responsibilities, zones, and scheduling of meetings.

Most importantly, it is designed to work alongside popular data-collection sites such as eBird.

Project types supported

By the end of 2019, the plan is to support the following project types:

  • Acoustic Surveys
  • Nesting Box Surveys (& Bluebird Trails)
  • Christmas Bird Count
  • Turtle Watch (sponsored by Dundas Turtle Watch)
  • Breeding Bird Survey
  • IBA Survey
  • Generic Project (purely organizational only -- no special tools/features)

In the longer term, some things that might be supported:

  • Bird-a-thon
  • Wildflower Survey
  • Bioblitz
  • Big Year / Month / etc
  • Heritage Tree Survey
  • Butterfly/Dragonfly Survey
  • Waterfowl Survey
  • Historical Records Projects (digitization)

Data on EcoLore

EcoLore's aims to provide a way to collect data on simple projects, but more complex needs should be handled by other existing sites.

For example, for many bird-related projects eBird should still be where you go to submit data. EcoLore is meant to compliment, not compete, with services like eBird. eBird is great for data submission -- but if you want to coordinate a large group of counters into teams and assign zones, or track data that does not centre around checklists, eBird has few solutions.

Technical FAQs

What happens with any data collected in the long term?

A problem sites like this can have over time is what to do if the maintainer moves on.

It is the aim of this project to have this problem covered. The software is open source, and thus anyone with the right know-how can duplicate the infrastructure. Each project admin will have access to the ability to download all of their own data whenever they like.

The only data that will not be availble for download is user account data.

Why are there no passwords for accounts here?

EcoLore uses a passwordless method of authentication. So, when you "log in", you're given a link in your email box to follow, and your ability to access that email is your authentication. It's easy, more secure than a password, and shouldn't have to be done very often.

The only time you may need to use a password would be when linking a Google account for using Google Drive to store photos or data backups, and that authentication is entirely done on Google's side of things.

How can I help?

EcoLore's software is written in open source -- you can help contribute to make it even better! You might not even need to be a programmer -- for instance, if you have a particular project type you'd like to see supported, you could plan out what would need to be done in order to support that project.