The CampusFlora software is available under OpenSource (GPLv3) licence so other institutions and organisations including schools, golf courses, local authorities etc can render their own App to share their flora.
We have three App outputs so far: webApp and iPhoneApp with the 1.2 version of the iOS app deriving data updates from the same database as the webApp, and the android app.
WebApp code: https://bitbucket.org/bio_eru/campusfloraweb
Please be aware that the details of the requirements for hosting the software and serving a rendering of CampusFlora will vary from institution to institution. Rosanne Quinnell can advise on the a general way to proceed and at the very minimum the following are required:
- server space: technical expertise to load software onto a server. CampusFlora[at]Sydney.edu is currently on an amazon server.
- botanical knowhow: See section below on “collecting and collating botanical data”.
Collecting and collating botanical data on the plants: Each institution will need to provide appropriately sourced data and information on their flora. The task of identifying and mapping plants can be onerous. Some organisations will have already the location of some, or all, of the plants. By way of examples of how this can be done, we offer the way we proceeded with this at the University of Sydney.
a) Using existing datasets. We were able to include those plants on the tree inventory (kept by the Grounds staff). Very early on in the project we were liaising with the grounds staff about the project and how to share information. The tree inventory system at USYD is ArborPlan. ArborPlan provides geolocation information on trees but uses UTM (not GPS), so these entries need to be converted to GPS. There are online converters to do this e.g.http://www.zonums.com/online/coords/cotrans.php?module=14.
b) Mapping plants de novo. We supplemented the arborplan tree entries by recruiting student volunteers and summer scholars (summer scholar program). Students seemed particularly enthusiastic about being involved in this project. We looked around for Apps to assist with this – we needed an App where observations could be uploaded to a shared space (so those logging observations could see what had been done) and an App that enabled observations to be downloaded as .csv or similar. We have used iNaturalist but there are other apps (http://www.inaturalist.org/projects/campus-flora & http://www.inaturalist.org/observations/project/campus-flora ).
Of course there are many ways to get collection location data and this could easily be incorporated into any undergraduate biology, botany or ecology class where the students collect and log plant data.
c) Look and feel of the App; images and graphics. The students working on the CampusFlora were very conscious that the product looked professional. Students designed our CampusFlora icon and they have contributed all the photographs. The University of Sydney Campus Flora has agreements to be able to use the photographs that students have created. In addition:
- we have used metric measures only
- Australian spelling e.g. metre not meter; centre not center.
- for “Distribution”, the further away from Sydney, the less specific the imformation. E.g. Sydney Blue Gum, the distribution is “NSW. Widespread but localized, in dry sclerophyll forest on sandy often swampy flats.”; for Chinese Elm, the distribution is “China, Japan, North Korea, Vietnam.”.
d) Getting permission to use exiting information. For the Sydney Uni incidence of CampusFlora, we have formal agreements in place to use botanical information (complete or derived) from: PlantNET, GymnospermDatabase. We have used some information (complete or derived) from Wikipedia and several other sources. In all cases we have included both attribution to those sources and hyperlinks back to those pages.
The agreements with PlantNET and Gymnosperm database that we have in place and which we used to populate the “description” and “distribution” fields are NOT transferred with the software; so, those relying on information for plant descriptions, distribution and information, in order to offer a Campus Flora at their institution will need to address this.