In june, the IUCN World Congress will be held in Marseille, this event is a major milestone for Marseille and its region and it will, hopefully, be a major milestone for biodiversity conservation worldwide.
The Hackathon is a two day workshop that brings together, for the first time, major international organisations, data scientists, and the greater public on the region to identify and solve technical bottlenecks around data-intensive biodiversity research:
- Create new innovation in the field biodiversity informatics;
- Improving domain reach to new audiences (incl. scientific, policy and the software industry);
- Inspiring new generations to more enthusiastically embark on data science around biodiversity;
New advances in computing technology, and so called big data revolution make it possible to imagine technological solution to the recent biodiversity crisis.
AI, and machine learning makes it possible to go even further in identifying species thought image, video and sound. They offer an aid to identification to non experts such and offer guideline to taxonomies determination avoiding keys or more advanced functions based on image recognition and artificial intelligence. It is now possible to recognize a species thanks to photo-identification. The user communicates an image of the species he wishes to identify and the machine offers him a name. Terrestrial animal species such as marine can also be identified by sound recording.
The computer identifies each element of an image (color, number and shape of plant elements, etc.), makes up its pixels, and compares them to a reference image bank. Like the human brain, it is by association that it offers an identification. What is revolutionary is that the computer is now able to interpret and understand an image on its own, it becomes "intelligent". Indeed, thanks to ‘deep learning’ (or unsupervised learning), the algorithms of the application improve as they identify new images and confront new situations.
Thanks to the development of these new technologies (GSM, 4G and soon 5G coverage, sensors on board animals - "biologging", drones, bioacoustics, etc.) the data collected on biodiversity is increasing exponentially. How are they collected and stored?
If you are carrying out scientific research or if you want to analyze a territory, it is also possible to explore species and regions. Distribution maps, histograms or multimedia files relating to the species are available to everyone. The data are verified by the community, including a few referents whose expertise is widely recognized. You may be asked to provide a photograph or recording of a particularly unusual observation. Quebec bird watchers are important contributors to provincial bird life data and contribute greatly alongside Quebec Birds and Bird Study Canada to our good knowledge of this taxon.
Digital technology offers new tools for nature education differently and educating yourself about the environment. This is all the more important, when we know that the key message of the Aichi Targets (“Strategic plan for biological diversity 2011-2020” adopted by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2010) is the mobilization of all individual and collective actors in the preservation of biodiversity.
Indeed, ICT bring a playful and interactive side allowing individuals to easily learn and interpret the nature (landscapes, ecosystems, species ...) that they frequent. In fact there is an explosion of mobile applications pursuing this objective. This ranges from online naturalist guides (eg Peterson Mammals North America, key to bird songs from Europe, etc.), to the keys to determination or even interpretation applications for the general public such as Ecobalade, developed by Natural solutions.