Smartphone app turns you into a citizen scientist in the fight against invasive species

May 5, 2015

Purple loosestrife is an invasive plant found in wetlands and on roadsides throughout much of North America.
Credit user liz west / Flickr

Amos Ziegler has developed a smartphone app that could make it a lot tougher for invasive plants and critters to sneak into our state and get a foothold before they're detected.

The MISIN app is one component of the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network, a regional effort to develop and provide an early detection and rapid response resource for invasive species in the Midwest.

Like their website, found here, the app depends on user interaction to assist in the identification and reporting of invasive species in the Midwest.

Amos says the app also provides resources to educate users about how to identify hundreds of invasive species and allow them to report species sightings.

Amos' app relies on the phone’s built-in GPS and encourages users to take a picture of the species sighted, and asks a few simple questions to describe the density and approximate size of the infestation.

The report is then sent to the website, where it is added to the database.

The app is available for both iPhone and Android devices, and download links can be found here.