Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The NZ natural history revolution continues

We've been having a bit too much fun lately on NatureWatch NZ to be regularly updating our blog (our Facebook page has been noting some of the most amazing discoveries). With so much going on, I thought some of you might be interested in the latest stats on NatureWatch NZ. In summary, it just keeps on growing.

Since our launch in late August 2012, 548 people have now added 32,343(!) observations of 5,004(!) New Zealand species and higher taxa. Of those, 25,915 observations include photos, and since one observation can contain many photos, those fine 548 people have added an amazing 50,128 photos. We just passed that milestone of 50,000 photos this past week. That's over 50,000 photos of NZ species, many the first photos ever added to the internet of a species.

Observations become "research grade" when someone else agrees with an observation, something that is usually only possible when there's an included photo. Of the 25,915 observations with photos, we already have 14,417 at "research grade". The quality of observations keeps increasing as more people use the site and correct identification errors.

Another measure of how vibrant the NatureWatch NZ online community has become is the comments on observations. Since launch, NatureWatch NZ users have made 14,151 comments on observations. Some of the discussions have been fascinating, others funny.

Our other easy measure of how useful and successful NatureWatch NZ is becoming is how many people visit the website (including people who use the site but don't sign in and add observations). Since launch, a whopping 84,357 unique visitors have made 144,972 visits and in total made 891,831 page views. One million page views, here we come! On average, visitors stay for just over five minutes and look at just over six webpages.

I still feel like this is very early days for what is possible with NatureWatch NZ. There's so much new to discover about NZ nature. We're especially keen to involve more schools in this discovery, and are looking forward to being a central part of the big Nina Valley EcoBlitz next March. We're also keen to expand on the monitoring capabilities of the site (our bulk upload feature will be greatly expanded very soon). Plus, we're at about the stage where some serious science can be attempted with the data. Regardless, it's been a terrific start. Thanks to everyone who's been part of it. Onwards and upwards!

Before I return to NatureWatch NZ, I'll leave you with this amazing wingless crane fly, discovered in Christchurch's Travis Wetland by grahame, posted on NatureWatch NZ as "ID Please", and identified by local entomologist Peter Johns as a male Gynoplistia species (probably Gynoplistia pedestris.).

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