Near Real Time Measurements
Historical information is critical to understanding past changes in the states and dynamics of wetlands and riparian zones. The development of mobile devices (notebooks but also mobile phones) and field data recording software now facilitates near real time collection of ground data as well as coordination of effort, placement of sample sites and consistency of data recorded. To facilitate near real time collection of field data, TERN has developed a range of mobile applications generated using the Open Data Kit (ODK), with these focusing on land cover (including mangrove) classification and retrieval of environmental variables.
EarthTrack is a mobile application that has been developed to allow near real time delivery of information on land cover and change as well as environmental variables, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Land Cover Classification System (LCCS). For example, within vegetation categories, EarthTrack allows separate validation of the individual canopy cover, canopy height, leaf type, phenology and lifeform components for the class “tall (> 15 m) closed (70-100 %) broad-leaved evergreen trees” and hence the overall class, noting that this is built entirely from environmental variables. All data relevant to the LCCS classes and changes are made freely available at a global level within minutes of being submitted, thereby creating a continual stream of ground data.
EarthTrack also provides significant capability for developing algorithms for retrieving specific environmental variables from earth observation data, as ground-based measures such as leaf area index, above ground biomass, water chemistry and soil and vegetation moisture can be collected using scientific equipment and techniques and submitted to a central repository. Of note is that EarthTrack also allows collection of plot-based measurements, including the size and species type of individual plants. EarthTrack Mangroves has been developed specifically to record land cover and change within mangrove environments and considers all mangroves species currently present in Australia.It can downloaded onto an Android or iPhone using the instructions outlined below. All data on the extent of mangroves and other land covers will be provided through this portal.
- Install ODK Collect Version 1.4.16
- Download from Google Play
- From your device's application drawer, choose the Play Store.
- Search for "ODK" and choose "ODK Collect" from "Open Data Kit".
- Select that result and click the Install button. Click OK after viewing the security settings.
- Open the application
- Go into 'General Settings' by pressing the option button on your phone (on phone try button lower left of home button - main button) and selecting 'General Settings'
- Select Configure platform settings
- Under 'URL' connect to the server using this web address: https://land-cover.appspot.com)
- Username: rscDataUser Password: tlsIsCool
- Select autosend (does automatic upload - optional) OR upload manually.
Before going into the field, select “Get Blank Form” which will show every form that is available. Get the LCCS form (Earth Track ***; select OK).
Then when in field “Fill Blank Form” and go Start GeoPoint. You need to wait for the accuracy to be < 5 m. Note that you have to get a GPS reading before taking the picture. When you get your reading (on Android) select the arrow pointing to a small circle.
Submit your data and TERN will provide a summary of what you have collected.
You can change the version in settings and upload the new xml with new form ID (e.g., Version 2) and then turn downloadable for the old form (so one form at a time).