iSpot (www.iSpotnature.org) is aimed at helping anyone identify anything in nature! It is a citizen science project run by The Open University (OU) that was developed to help anyone learn about and engage with nature while sharing and building their wildlife identification skills while monitoring and recording biodiversity..
iSpot has grown into a database of over 1.6 million photos posted in hundreds of thousands observations of species from a wide range of groups including: amphibians and reptiles; birds; fungi and lichens; fish; invertebrates; mammals plants and other organisms.
iSpot aims to:
- Lower barriers to identification - build ID skills
- Make nature accessbile / open to all
- Suppport development of a new generation of naturalists
- Facilitate biological monitoring and data recording
It is free and easy to use: share your interest with a friendly community, look at the latest spots, take photos of wildlife, add your own observations, join in discussions and get help identifying what you have seen.
A citizen science platform (citizen observatory) for biodiversity iSpot was launched by the OU in 2009, celebrating 12 years of activity in 2021, and has grown into an active, diverse online community of tens of thousands of nature enthusiasts, both experts and novices.
People upload their observations of wildlife, help each other identify it, and share and discuss what they've seen. A good place to start is to look at some of the latest observations - you can see what people are observing right now. Anyone can see what's on the site without registering - just goto the home page, and click on the photos for the latest observations. Browse or add observations in a range of species groups.
How to participate
We'd love you to make use of the site yourself, by showing your own observations, or commenting on other people's and helping them to identify what they've found. There are four main ways to participate:
- Explore: browse the thousands of observations spotted so far
- Identify & Record: add your observations, get help with identifications or assist others
- Contribute and Collaborate: participate,comment and join discussions - a reputation system motivates and rewards badges
- Learn & Personalise: join citizen science challenges; create, develop and filter your own learning through projects, quizzes, online keys and courses.
To fully participate you'll need to register on the site - this is totally free, and does not commit you to anything. All you need to provide is a user name, an email address, and a password. Then the next thing to do is to get outside and make some observations. You need to note down what you've seen, where you've seen it, and when you saw it.
Take a digital photograph to share what you've seen; then upload your observation. To do this click Add an observation, fill in the form, and you're away! If you have an idea of the identification then you can add that but if not then leave that part blank and someone else will help out with the name. The only part of the name that is required is which of the main groups it is in e.g. is it in group 'Amphibians and reptiles', 'Birds', 'Fish', 'Fungi and lichens', 'Invertebrates', 'Mammals', 'Other organisms', or 'Plants'.
Camera, internet access