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.
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
- 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 
- Virtual Private Server (VPS), 120GB disk, ~£30-40/month = £360-£480/year 
- Dedicated server 500GB disk, ~£70/month = £840/year. 
- Would be multi-purpose; would also host WMUK wikis/blog/etc. + other projects
- Shared hosting, unlimited disk & bandwidth $9/month 
- VPS, 150mb reserved memory, unlimited disk & bandwidth $25/month 
Volunteering[edit | edit source]
- 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 *~~~:
- Mike Chelen - website technical, some biology subjects
Discussion[edit | edit source]
Possible useful resources: Towards a data publishing framework for primary biodiversity data: challenges and potentials for the biodiversity informatics community http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1186/1471-2105-10-S14-S2 Scratchpads: a data-publishing framework to build, share and manage information on the diversity of life http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1186/1471-2105-10-S14-S6