Development of an Application for TREE Foundation India for Collecting Data on Vulnerable Marine Species .
From 1979 To 2020, Sea Turtle Nesting Numbers Have Gone Down By 90%. Nesting numbers of the Olive Ridley Turtle(R. Whitaker, 1979) in 1979, was 100 nests per kilometer each year. Nowadays, only 10-11 turtle nests per kilometer are to be found.
TREE Foundation, an internationally recognised and respected conservation NGO was founded in 2002 with a primary focus on marine conservation. Working in conjunction with artisanal fishers, Forest and Fisheries Department, the Coastal Security Police of the Govt. of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha and the Indian Coast Guard, TREE Foundation has formulated a community conservation program called Integrated Community-Based Conservation Program (ICBCP).
This program covers 42 villages along in Chennai-Kancheepuram; 5 villages in Sulurpeta; 54 villages in Nellore district; 38 villages in Prakasam district; 3 villages in Guntur district; 4 sandbars and 3 villages in Krishna District; 12 villages in Vizianagaram; 56 villages in Srikakulam district- Andhra Pradesh; and 5 villages in Ganjam, Odisha.
Turtles are an integral part of marine ecosystems, and their breeding locations hold significant importance in maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem health. Collecting data on turtle breeding locations involves identification/ Geotagging of nesting sites, population monitoring, tracking the emergence of hatchlings, and release spots at the coast. In a similar manner, accidental catching of endogenous species by fishermen needs proper documentation of the species and bycatch assessments.
The data collected on the endangered species and hatching grounds greatly aid in formulating regulations and policies to protect these vulnerable species. TREE Foundation achieves this with the help of collaborative efforts involving local communities, fishermen, volunteers, researchers, and relevant authorities. However, the manual notes taken based on observation by the people and later conversion into digital manner for analysis and decision making gets more laborious and biased by opinions. An on-field, easy and factful data collection application will be of immense benefit to collect and collate data on all the turtle breeding grounds and endangered species spotting locations.
Technical Specifications and Features
The solution comprises the following applications and users:
Offline sync: Application offline mode enabled (default) so data can be collected while fisher man is out in the sea without internet connection.
Excel Upload – Bulk upload of users identification using Microsoft Excel file. The data uploaded here is important because it is synced and used by the Mobile app to validate that fisher man and STFP users’ credentials are legitimate. (Official registration number)
Solution : Entanglements and Sighthings
Fisherman can download the application and asked to register themselves using their Fishermen Society Registration Number. Once they venture out into the sea. Any turtles and rare species of fish could get entangled on the fishing net. And by using the application, they will be able to capture videos and photos of those species, the application automatically captures the lat /long coordinates-based n GPS location and calculates the distance to the nearest shore. This is achieved by integrating with the openAI. The application also provides the option to record audio so the fishermen could give additional comments.
If there is no network coverage, then the recorded information will get stored in the local storage of their device and will get synchronised and uploaded to the server which can then be viewed and analysed by the organization’s admin and coordinators. Turtle Nestlings: Sea Turtle Force Protection (STPF members) can use the application to capture the images and videos of turtle nestlings, the application also allows the STPF member to measure the Nest depth and width and also the parent turtle’s health details and then transfer those turtle eggs to the hatchery and keep it under observation and protection until hatchlings emerge. And they are released to the sea. The application allows them to capture media (videos/ photos and audio) to keep record of each nest.
Data-Driven Interventions Planning
The data collected on the endangered species and hatching grounds greatly aid in formulating regulations and policies to protect these vulnerable species. TREE Foundation achieves this with the help of collaborative efforts involving local communities, fishermen, volunteers, researchers, and relevant authorities. However, manual notes taken based on observation by the people and later conversion into digital manner for analysis and decision making gets more laborious and biased by opinions. An on-field, quick and factful data collection application will be of immense benefit to collect and collate data on all the turtle breeding grounds and endangered species spotting locations.