Update on Project Activities
This week our team filled out a Doodle form to find a free 4 hour window of time that we all share at some time this quarter in order to go to San Mateo County and setup the camera trappings. Through this process we resolved that February 14th from 10:30am to 4:30pm would be our date and time for setting up the camera trappings. After we resolved this, we informed our client David of this information which he confirmed.
Additionally during our weekly team meeting we discussed possibilities for further expanding the scope of our project. One idea David discussed interest in, was the possibility of talking to local officials in order to understand cataloging smaller animal species (birds, insects, etc.). Another idea that we discussed was Dani’s idea to perhaps find or create image visualization software. This could help our client (and others in the Wildlife Picture Project) in cataloging data much more efficiently and easily, since the cataloging of the photographs is currently done manually.
Finally we sent out a When2Meet so that we can best find a time for our recurring project check-ins with David. Our Team will be filling this in and is communicating with David on best times that are convenient on his end.
What We Observed and Learned
To be honest, this week we haven’t moved forward with observations. We’re sending out initial requests to our extended partner contacts to collect the data we need, so...we’re mostly just waiting / going to be in communication with the extended partners for the foreseeable future.
This week, we learned ways that we could present the data that we find - specifically, how to visualize data with GIS tools. Seeing tools like ArcGIS, ArcGIS online (& story maps), and Carto made us realize that we have a lot more options in the way that we show our data to our partners, and the way SMC could show the data to the greater community. Carto and Story Maps serve extremely well as storytelling methods, with Carto being highly interactive and animated and Story Maps allowing for the combination of multiple maps and paragraphs of text juxtaposed in a way that tells a narrative. As a whole, we’re not yet sure how to fully utilize these tools, but as we move forward with the project we believe that we’ll find ways that GIS tools could be very helpful. As far as learning the specific tools, we have a member with some ArcGIS experience (Emmanuel has taken a separate workshop on ArcGIS mapping), and we’re confident that if need be, the whole team can learn enough to complete a decent visualization of the SMC area and the camera trap locations.
Critical Analysis/Moving Forward
As we are still in the planning phase of our project, no dramatic changes have been made in our overall goal. However, our plan itself has continued to focus and we are preparing to begin work on our deliverable.
We are in the process of coordinating a meeting with our partner, David, so that he can give us further direction into how we can begin synthesizing his data. We aim to meet with him in one week’s time in order to clarify the process and ensure that our methods are aligned with what he wants for his project. Gathering and organising the camera trappings data will then begin.
After the GIS workshop last class, we are also thinking of ways to best present our deliverable. We saw potential in the software’s ability to present and visualize the data in enticing, user-friendly ways - in particular, the Carto software. This has implications for our project in that our end product must be usable by anyone; scientists have already collected the data, and so the data’s power to enact change will be within its ability to communicate itself - to other scientists, the public, and policymakers alike.
Finally, our group discussed what we want for this project. The scope of our goal is highly focused: to collect already-found dara and to present in a way that is comprehensible to David and his team and those that to whom we will present. However, our group is brainstorming for ways to expand that scope to add to our pre-set deliverable. Because the current data focuses itself on the parks’ large mammals, we are also interested in looking into starting points to get a similar metric on the biodiversity of smaller fauna that have found their homes in strictly urban environments. To that end, we will be looking into contacting local ornithologists and entomologists to see if there is any data on local distributions of species, and if not, how it can be acquired for future projects. Our thinking is that while focusing on the species in higher trophic levels is measurable and undoubtedly important, it will also be important for the management of the region as a whole to access data from across the entire ecological spectrum. Therefore, we would like to leave that side project with David as a possible future endeavour, complete enough that it will perhaps have use as an independent material. We are continuing to brainstorm for other possible options as add-ons.