What is UMAPIT?
UMAPIT is a bespoke, free, quick and easy app that allows users to record sightings of urban wildlife species and sends the records directly to a website where it tracks the sightings on a map. The app generates a co-ordinate automatically from the GPS with a time stamp so recorders only need to select a species.
It was developed at the University of Manchester by the University Living Campus group, led by Professor Amanda Bamford. This android app and its accompanying website allows users to easily capture details of species encountered while out and about, record the sightings on a map and send the records directly to the website database to build up a picture of the distribution of these species. Users can also find out more information on the 19 species, including images and descriptions, all of which have been seen on the University of Manchester’s campus and many are also found right across the UK. Records can be freely downloaded from the website and so species distribution changes can be followed. It was developed in collaboration with Advisory, as part of our corporate responsibility agenda, using agile programming and so it can be expanded and/or changed as the need arises in the future.
Why Is It Needed?
Biodiversity on campus is already taught in a range of modules across several Schools and Faculties and also is the focus of many public engagement and involvement events e.g. Bioblitz in Smith Quad or Urban Naturalist event at Manchester Museum.
It was hoped that a mobile app might help streamline the way in which wildlife is recorded across campus and create a permanent record that can used more widely. The app would also encourage awareness and highlight the wealth of biodiversity available on campus and in our urban environments.
By using the campus as a ‘living lab’ the app will be a useful tool as part of the teaching and learning experience by University of Manchester students by making it easy to go out and record the urban species on campus. The app could harness the large student body to build up a unique map of the campus wildlife.
However, whilst developing the app it was soon realized that it could have a wider reach that just the University Campus and could reach into the wider community. So it was designed so that it can be used not just on campus but anywhere, and importantly that it is very simple to use! It is very user friendly and is suitable for young and old, beginners and experienced recorders. It could be used by schools to monitor their playground wildlife or by people in their back gardens!
The key points about the app…
is a free, easy, and simple way of recording biodiversity
will help scientists to track distribution of important urban species
can be used on android phones with the app (UMAPIT downloaded from Google play) or on any device using the website www.UMAPIT.org.
allows recording sightings anywhere.. back garden, school grounds, town centre, campus, local park.
provides photos, detailed descriptions and information for 19 selected urban species
can still be used if there is no internet outside, as you can record your sighting later via our website, as well as seeing your recorded sighting along with everyone else!
Professor Amanda Bamford says ‘’The app lets citizen scientists everywhere log their wildlife encounters and add to the biodiversity data available to scientists. We hope that this app will encourage awareness of the fantastic wildlife in our urban environments’’