Monday, 5 November 2012


‘Put that **!! thing away!’
Prejudice against Smartphone users when out birding is rampant. But wait, that irritating iPhone user could be doing something useful with it…..

If you have a Smartphone (iPhone or Android) you can use EpiCollect to gather information and store it. EpiCollect ( is a completely free and open source project, was developed at Imperial College London and funded by the Welcome Trust.

It can be used for anything you wish to collect data for: e.g. wildlife or plant surveys, questionnaires, locations of favourite places, keep a record of where you've been etc. It is also being used for epidemiological studies e.g. mapping cases of disease in Africa.
I have started to use it for species recording and nest box recording.
I have designed simple forms on the EpiCollect site and then downloaded the EpiCollect app onto my iPhone.

When data is entered it automatically gives the time of entry and will ‘geotag’ the data. This can then be viewed on Google maps and is accurate in my experience to about 2 metres: really helpful when trying to relocate plant species recorded the previous year or birdboxes hidden in woodland.

Data is stored on the EpiCollect site and can be downloaded to Excel spreadsheets.

Multiple users can share data, giving precise locations for others to follow.

I’m still on the nursery slopes of EpiCollect and would welcome the experiences of other users.

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