A brief ecological interlude: iNaturalist

Recently, I was toying with ideas for fun side projects involving web applications. “Here’s a good one”, I thought, “a place for amateur naturalists to record their observations.” They could upload photos, place items on a Google Map, tag items and all manner of web 2.0 stuff. Over time, with enough users, such a site might even become a valuable conservation resource, allowing data miners to see interesting changes over time.

Today, via FriendFeed, I discovered that someone else also likes the idea. I’m delighted, since I’ve long since abandoned all hope of even starting a fun side project; I lack both the requisite skills and the time to learn them. If these ideas appeal to you, please visit iNaturalist. Better still, post some feedback at their Google Group.

It’s a site that will only succeed with users and for that, they need a slick interface that makes data entry simple, quick, fun and comprehensive. Not quite good enough to persuade me to enter observations just yet, but I’ll be following their progress with interest.