Capturing our Curiosity with NatureLynx

How we helped ABMI collect data from every corner of the province of Alberta—using the power of citizen science.

CLIENT

ABMI Naturelynx logo

PLATFORMS

Responsive Web, Mobile Application for iOS and Android

TECHNOLOGY

HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Angular, and Hybrid Ionic Cordova

Two screenshots of the NatureLynx application on an iPhone 12. Both screenshots are of the sightings newsfeed. From left to right: a sighting of a moth and a sighting of a great horned owl. Both sightings have the date, time, location, and the author of the sighting.

About the client

ABMI NatureLynx logo

The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI) is a not-for-profit scientific research organization tasked with tracking changes in Alberta’s wildlife, while providing ongoing, relevant, and scientifically credible information on Alberta’s living resources. With projects and researchers from border to border, ABMI’s programs are jointly delivered by InnoTech Alberta and the University of Alberta.

ABMI is a leader in biodiversity monitoring; the program stands as a model to other jurisdictions across the US and Canada. The products and services developed by the institute are integral to responsible resource management and land stewardship in Alberta, now and into the future, while enriching Albertans’ appreciation of our shared natural heritage.

Two screenshots of the NatureLynx application. From left to right: An iPhone 12 with a screenshot of the newsfeed and a sighting of a bumblebee with the date, time, location, and who posted it. An iMac screenshot of the website view for the sightings for a grizzly bear and a fox.

Project overview

ABMI was looking for an effective way to connect with Alberta’s community of citizen scientists. By providing an engaging platform for this community to record and submit biodiversity tracking information, ABMI would gain access to previously unattainable levels of information. More nature-loving boots on the ground contributing to the ABMI datasets meant greater accuracy in tracking the over 2,500 species being currently monitored.

To extend ABMI’s reach, Punchcard delivered both an iOS and Android app, NatureLynx, which enables citizen scientists to collect real-time data on the go. A companion application programming interface (API) and web client were also created to manage biodiversity data collected by these same citizens across the province of Alberta.

The initial version of this project was launched in June 2018 and continues to be iterated even today.

The NatureLynx logo along with samples of the font, icons, and the two colours used within the application.

Unifying data collection in citizen science.

NatureLynx is a way for nature enthusiasts to connect, learn, and contribute to the ever-growing understanding of Alberta’s natural heritage. It serves as a platform for both individuals and groups to collect and share biodiversity information.

Increasing public participation in scientific inquiry also builds awareness and expertise. By connecting NatureLynx to the ABMI’s existing information, it will encourage and support users in becoming informed leaders in the naturalist community.

We like to think of this app as Instagram for animals, birds, bugs, and plants.

A website screenshot on a Macbook of the NatureLynx home page.
Quote icon

Our relationship with Punchcard has been really personal, and it feels like a friendship.

Creating a community of citizen scientists.

NatureLynx is a free citizen science application created and supported by the not-for-profit ABMI with the goal of fostering an Alberta biodiversity network. The goal is for the app to take on a life of its own, empowering users to explore, share, learn, and act.

Next time you’re out enjoying nature and you see an animal, insect, or an interesting plant you want to identify, check out the NatureLynx app and you could help contribute to the scientific knowledge about the biodiversity of our province!

An iPhone 12 screenshot of the add a sighting screen on the NatureLynx application. The screenshot shows the uploading of an image of a wild rose and it's species name, species group, and the date and time of the upload.

Key features of the NatureLynx mobile platform:

  • Individual profiles: Create profiles to upload and categorize their photos.
  • Share sightings: Access to a photo library on phones or tablets for easy uploading and sharing of sightings.
  • Create groups: Create and join private or public groups to connect with other users to share relevant sightings.
  • Targeted missions: Create and complete targeted missions with members of a NatureLynx group.
  • Newsfeed and gallery of sightings: Display the latest sightings submitted to NatureLynx.
  • Categorization of sightings: Browse the expanding species profiles to categorize their sightings.
  • Expert verification: Enable access to scientists who can help them identify their sightings.
  • Data downloads: Enable access to a web-based portal to view and download data.

Impact by the numbers

27,071

photos uploaded

17,939

sightings reported

5,616

active users
 An image of someone holding a smartphone in the forest with the NatureLynx application open. The smartphone screen is displaying the sighting newsfeed with a posting of a common redpoll.

See the NatureLynx product in the wild!

View the iOS appView the Android appView the website