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Outline[edit | edit source]

BioBlitz is a citizen science project that encourages students to carry out a biological survey of a given area.

The world-wide project started in 1996; the first UK-based event was held in Bristol 2009.

The project has strong support of schools, but is lacking technical support; last year's project ran from a WordPress blog.

Further information:

Benefits[edit | edit source]

By assisting this event we can:

  • Foster links between BioBlitz and Wikimedia websites
  • Encourage students to edit biological articles on Wikispecies and Wikipedia
  • Increase the number of freely licensed photographs available (caveat: potentially not of the highest quality)
  • Jump-start working with schools around the UK; letting them know that we exist, and can help them.
  • Association with media coverage of the event
  • Additionally foster links between Wikimedia and Bristol Natural History Consortium, which could potentially lead to other joint projects

Requirements[edit | edit source]

Two sections: advice/talks and technical. Although it may be possible to just provide advice, and not technical assistance, this would weaken the collaborative link between Wikimedia and BioBlitz.

Advice[edit | edit source]

  • Talks on how people can use the Wikimedia websites, including the editing interface (applicable both to editing proposed BioBlitz site, also Wikimedia projects)
  • Could involve high-level talks at teachers, or lower level talks at schools
  • Natural link in with the Schools Project
  • Could also work with them to import useful photographs etc. into Commons

Potential costs:

  • Travel - up to £500?
  • Volunteer time

Technical[edit | edit source]

  • Construction and hosting of a website for recording the results of the survey and for surrounding material, with links in to Wikimedia websites
  • Website has to support records, images, video (Ogg, using Firefogg to convert on upload?), audio. Potential for this to use a lot of disk space -> likely would need better webhost. Question over interaction between free licenses and video created by children.
  • Two facets to website: Wiki for backend of record database + general use for other things, and a custom front-end for adding records of objects found
  • Custom front-end: PHP website with MySQL database and hooks into MediaWiki API. At its most basic, it would need to have a form to create a database entry (most data stored in a wiki template for easy modification; some information e.g. observer name needs to be kept private and would go into the separate database), keep a running tally and have options to export the data (CSV format?). Extra features could be added if time permits, e.g. links with maps (OSM/Wikimapia).
  • Technical work is mostly in hosting + setting up and maintaining a wiki. Custom front-end should require a weekend's work from User:Mike Peel.

Potential hosting costs:

  • Currently on reseller account, 6GB disk, £10/month = £120/year [1]
  • Virtual Private Server (VPS), 120GB disk, ~£30-40/month = £360-£480/year [2]
  • Dedicated server 500GB disk, ~£70/month = £840/year. [3]
  • Would be multi-purpose; would also host WMUK wikis/blog/etc. + other projects
  • Shared hosting, unlimited disk & bandwidth $9/month [4]
  • VPS, 150mb reserved memory, unlimited disk & bandwidth $25/month [5]

Volunteering[edit | edit source]

Would need:

  • People to give talks and provide guidance
  • Technical people to work on the website

If you're interested in helping out with this proposal, please sign below with *~~~:

Discussion[edit | edit source]

Possible useful resources: Towards a data publishing framework for primary biodiversity data: challenges and potentials for the biodiversity informatics community Scratchpads: a data-publishing framework to build, share and manage information on the diversity of life